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'.'X^J 'S*'JlJl' 


M o c c c c X 



The Power of Silence. 

New Edition, reyised and enlarged. I2*. i 

Wi?/$i.35 1 

The Perfect Whole, w'^ . . . . 


In Search of a Soul, k** . . • • 


Voices of Hope. 12° 


Voices of Freedom. 12'' ... . 


Education and the PhUosophlcal Ideal. 12° 


TheHeartoflt. 16" 


Llvlns: by the Sphit. 16** ... . 


The Christ Ideal. 16° 


A Book of Secrets. 12** ... . 

1. 00 

Man and the Divhie Order. 12° . . 


Health and the Inner life. 12°. . . 


The Philosophy of the Spirit. 8° . . 


A Physician to the Soul. 12° . . . 


A Message to the WeU. 12' . . . 





An Analytical and Historical Study of Spiritual 

Healing Theories, with an Account of the 

Life and Teachings of P. P. Quimby 



Author of " The Power of Silence," " Man and the Divine 

Order," etc. 




TTbe ftnicfterbocfter pre00 



MAY 1 1915 




Copyright, 1906 




1/ :\.i lii, r'L.- 

Zht ftnfclterboclker |>rc00, Dew SerR 


Introduction . 
I. Historical Sketch . 
II. Personal Testimony 

III. Mind and Disease • 

IV. Quimby's Theory of Man 
V. The First Teachers 

VI. The Omnipresent Wisdom 
VII. The Power of Thought 
VIII. Spiritual Healing 
IX. Methods of Healing 
X. Summary and Definition 
Index . . . • 





THERE are three general points of view from 
which one may regard the mental life of man 
in its relation to the body. In the first place, the 
mind may be regarded from below, as if it were a 
mere product of matter. From this point of view, 
every event in man's mental history is a result of 
physical processes; every thought, feeling, or voli- 
tion springs from, and is dependent upon certain 
conditions of the brain. What is called "conscious- 
ness" is a product or accompaniment of bodily life; 
matter alone is ultimately real ; mind has no signifi- 
cance apart from it. The "soul" is an invention of 
human thought, devised to account for the higher 
phases of cerebral productivity. This is the point 
of view of typical old-time materialism. 

From the second point of view, mental states and 
bodily processes are regarded as if they existed on 
the same level. This may mean that physical events 
are taken to be merely parallel with psychic states, 
with no interchange. Or, it may imply belief in 
the interaction of mind and brain. Biologically 

^ Health and the Inner Life 

speaking, it involves a theory of mental develop- 
ment corresponding to physical evolution. Most 
scientific theories of the relationship of mind and 
matter belong under this head. In some respects 
it is also the point of view of popular thought. 

In the third place, the observer is supposedly 
located within the mental life, looking out through 
**the windows of the soul" upon all the world. 
This position is not explicitly the point of view of 
any recognised school of thought, yet it is implied 
in many popular and unscientific beliefs. It is also 
the standpoint of those who maintain that the brain 
is merely the physical instrument of the soul. Such 
a position need not imply the complete independ- 
ence or supremacy of the soul. But it may reason- 
ably include the conviction that, on occasion, the 
soul is roused into masterful activity and is thereby 
enabled to initiate new lines of action. Many works 
of genius and occasional triumphs of the will seem 
to imply that the soul is superior, not merely as an 
observer of the bodily life going on below, but as 
an actual master of adverse conditions. Inspired 
by the study of such instances, contemporary the- 
orists frequently point out that man is a soul with 
a body, not a body with a soul. It is even said that 
the soul is potentially master of every portion of 
bodily life, that in the long run the body becomes 
what the soul makes it. 

Whatever one may think of the extravagant and 
other unscientific beliefs which belong under this 
head, it is clear that both for theoretical and for 

Introduction i 

practical purposes every one should be able to take 
up the position from which the body and the entire 
physical world are looked at from above. When 
we pause to think, we are compelled to admit the 
existence of consciousness as the primal and surest 
fact. What we know of the great world around is 
known through our states of consciousness, and if 
we seem to be living a merely objective life, amidst 
external things, it is because we have become ob- 
livious of the real nature of experience. We live 
in the inner world of our own mental life, con- 
template, reflect, and react upon events which, as 
known by us, are purely mental. Hence the bur- 
den of proof rests upon the materialist, not upon 
the idealist. If it requires thought to discover that 
we live fundamentally a mental life, the result of 
our analysis is the discovery that no point of view 
is more natural than that of the outward look from 

It is one thing, however, to start with the funda- 
mental fact of consciousness and arrive at idealistic 
conclusions about human experience as a whole, 
and another to regard the inner life as the centre 
of practical activity. The theoretical discipline is 
highly profitable. It is well to remind ourselves 
many times that in very truth we lead a conscious 
life. But as idealism in theory is not necessarily 
idealism in practice, a much severer discipline is 
needed before one is in a position to test the opti- 
mistic popular beliefs in regard to the supremacy of 
the soul. No one is ready to test these beliefs 

4 Health and the Inner Life 

to the full who is unwilling to regard the soul as 
potentially a master. Now that materialism has 
had the fullest hearing, it is but fair that a distinctly 
spiritual point of view should have recognition. 
Most men have a half-dormant conviction that they 
have never accomplished what they might by men- 
tal power. Mere theory is of no avail in this con- 
nection : each man must investigate his mental world, 
experiment with his own mind. The chances are 
that every man will confiess with shame that he even 
lacks the first requisite, namely, self-control. 

A simple illustration will show the difference be- 
tween the man who is at home in his mental world 
and the one who is without inner resources. Let it 
be a typical case of the approach of sudden illness, 
or simply the presence of a slightly painful sensa- 
tion with which the mind unwittingly associates the 
name of a dreaded disease, with all its terrors. The 
man who has no staying power, no knowledge of 
his inner self, is swept forward by the consciousness 
of sensation, a description of which he communi- 
cates to a physician, who in turn is compelled to 
judge the case from the outside. By skilful ques- 
tioning, many doctors are indeed able to work their 
way, as it were, well into the interior of a patient's 
life. Yet all this is relatively external. Even in 
cases of so-called mental disease the physician very 
naturally judges the mental states by their physio- 
logical conditions. Important as this judgment 
may be, there is still another story to be told. 

On the other hand, let it be a case where the 

Introduction 5 

person in question is in some measure aware of the 
resources of the inner life. External aid may or 
may not be necessary. The symptoms may or may 
not be alarming. But if there is a tendency towards 
emotional excitement and fear, with their bodily 
accompaniments, these tendencies are inhibited, 
met with calmness and self-control. The person in 
question may not be able to follow up the advan- 
tage and actively overcome the disease by mental 
methods. But many people know from experience 
what it is to inhibit the rising tide of emotion which 
so soon passes beyond control if not stopped at once. 
Let this suffice in a general way for an illustration 
of the third attitude towards our mental life. 

It is clear that no theory of the inner life can long 
stand which ignores any of the facts involved in the 
three attitudes above described. There is no need 
of assertion of mental power, or denial of the reality 
of matter, if one possesses the facts. Yet as the 
most important facts are those of which we know 
least, there is need of searching investigation into 
the obscurer regions of the inner life, that we may 
be able to weigh the evidence for and against the 
most sharply contrasted points of view. It would 
be excusable if for a time no facts should be con- 
sidered except those which indicate the supremacy 
of mind. 

The purpose of this book is to bring these neg- 

lected considerations into view. By the term 

''inner life," as here used, is meant the mental 

experience of man in so far as it involves practical 

6 Health and the Inner Life 

beliefs and active attitudes. The inner life is the 
series of psychic states which each of us discovers as 
a unique, individual possession. In its outer refer- 
ences, our inner life is related to the great world 
of things and persons. Within its own precincts, 
it involves references to the dimly conscious, the sub- 
conscious, to an underlying selfhood, and to ultimate 
reality, or Being. It is with the less-known phases 
of the inner life that we are to be concerned, and al- 
ways the point of view will be that of the observer 
or participant, looking out upon life from within. 

By the term "health" is meant not so much the 
bodily condition as the accompanying mental states. 
In the larger sense of the word, health means a 
sound mind in a sound body. This being so, it is 
necessary to study the problems of health and dis- 
ease as affairs of the entire individual. But every 
one is supposed to understand the conditions of 
physical health, or at least to know where to obtain 
the necessary information; the real problem is to 
discover the hidden factors on the mental side of 
life. To become conscious of the inner life in its 
relation to health is to learn what manner of life one 
lives at large, then to discover the central sources 
of conduct in so far as conduct comes within the 
province of the will. The science of physical health 
may be acquired in a more general way. The 
science of mental health springs out of an art of life 
which each individual must acquire through far 
more intimate self-knowledge than the average man 

Introduction 7 

Let us assume, then, that the reader has taken up 
the subjective position above characterised, and 
that he is prepared to test the teachings of this book 
by direct reference to experience. Mere theory is 
of so little consequence in our undertaking that 
scarcely a statement can be weighed apart from 
instances which exemplify the power of mind, 
together with the study of personal problems of 
health. It matters little how far the individual 
problem has been carried. The art of health is still 
an ideal for most of us. Numbers of people have 
reached the point where they clearly see that health 
is part and parcel of the art of life. The essential 
is to begin wherever each of us stands and consider 
how to take the next step. That no merely physical 
solution of the problem is possible is perfectly clear. 
But that the true mind cure demands wise thought 
for things of this life is no less plain. Whatever the 
conclusion, it is clear that the art of health is the 
art of common sense. Not even while one is bring- 
ing the hidden factors of mind to the fore is one 
called upon to neglect the wisdom of the past in 
regard to the conditions of physical existence. If 
one is to triumph over the ills of the flesh and the 
woes of the mind it must be by full acknowledg- 
ment of the actual facts of real life. The theorist 
who believes in affirming the supremacy of mind at 
all costs is likely to take slight interest in this book. 

It is not necessary to begin a new series of experi- 
ments in order to have data for our present inquiry. 
The experiment has been in process for more than 

8 Health and the Inner Life 

half a century, and actual life is more fruitful than 
artificial experiment. One can scarcely raise the 
question, how far the mind has power over the 
body, without a reminder that a mind-cure move- 
ment has existed for many years. It is hardly pos- 
sible to discuss the question without first reckoning 
with that movement, for otherwise it will be assumed 
that one accepts all sorts of beliefs to which one 
takes the most decided exception. Moreover, there 
are particular reasons for prefacing the present in- 
quiry with an historical introduction. The reasons 
will become apparent as we proceed. 

Twenty-five years ago, when the mental-healing 
movement was first publicly discussed, it was lightly 
put aside as ''the Boston craze," and an early death 
was prophesied for it. Consequently no attempt 
was made to sift the wheat from the chaff, no record 
was kept of instances of cure. Since that time, the 
movement has attained large proportions, and has 
repeatedly divided and subdivided. At one time 
there were three so-called international societies 
holding independent conventions for the discussion 
of mental-healing theories. More them one hundred 
publications have been issued for brief periods, 
sixty of which were in existence at one time. The 
output of books has run into the hundreds, and 
while the majority contain repetitions of a few ideas 
many have had a large sale. Little "centres of 
truth," independent churches, and metaphysical 
clubs have been established here and there through- 
out the English-speaking world. The practice of 

Introduction 9 

mental healing has grown steadily, and both physi- 
cians and clergymen have felt the results of wide- 
spread adherence to mind-cure doctrines. The 
tendency has been to make a religion of the cult, to 
substitute it both for current forms of worship and 
for medical practice. Entirely aside from the hold 
which its most radical form has had upon the com- 
munity, many people have now come to the con- 
clusion that the general doctrine has come to stay 
and must be reckoned with. 

Some of the claims of mental-healing devotees are 
enormously extravagant, and certain phases of the 
general movement are decidedly ephemeral. Has 
the time come when it is possible to estimate its 
more permanent phases, and evaluate the practice 
of mental therapeutists? There are reasons for be- 
lieving that such an estimate is now possible. The 
output of publications reached its height about four 
years ago. New books on mental healing are pub- 
lished now and then, but they add little to the 
general doctrine. There is a tendency on the part 
of the public to assimilate the sounder notions 
and reject the specialisms. Hence it is easier to 
see what ideas and methods are likely to prove of 
permanent value. 

In order to prepare the way for the assessment 
of existing mind-cure doctrines, it is important to 
reconsider the parent theory out of which the pre- 
sent-day beliefs were differentiated. The general 
doctrine was much simpler when it was first pro- 
mulgated, and the first books on the subject are 

lo Health and the Inner Life 

among the best that have been written. Whatever 
the value of the general theory as originally set 
forth, it was given a direction which it has ever 
since followed, and to understand the present tend- 
encies one must trace their history. Again, there 
is need of such a study because most of the writers 
have been inclined to ignore their own indebtedness. 
Usually when the history of the subject has been 
referred to, it has been in a controversial spirit. 
Hence the significance of the original discoveries 
has been overlooked. 

As a contribution to the scientific investigation 
of the whole field, the present volume is intended 
to inform rather than to convert. With this aim 
in view, it has seemed best to reconstruct in one 
volume various articles and portions of earlier books, 
so that the original theory might be appreciated on 
its own merits. Hitherto there has been no book 
of this character, because most of the writing under 
this head has been didactic or dogmatic. Mental- 
healing writers as a rule take little interest in facts. 
As opposed to this general tendency, the mind-cure 
theory of the future will be reared on facts. If dis- 
passionate inquiry shall some time take the place of 
exaggerated assertion, the future history of the 
doctrine will be strikingly in harmony with its 
pioneer stages. 

Entirely aside from the possible values of present- 
day mind-cure theories, this volume is issued with 
the conviction that there is a phase of the general 
doctrine which has received little recognition, ev^n 

Introduction 1 1 

in this day of unprecedented interest in such ther- 
apeutic systems. Every one knows something 
about "Christian Science." Having heard about 
the malpractice which occurs in connection with 
that doctrine, and having condemned the whole 
theory as absurd, the tendency has been to classify 
allied doctrines under the same head. To broach 
any subject that resembles mind-cure theory is 
forthwith to be relegated to the domain of the 
unbalanced, and hence to be scornfully denied a 
hearing. It is easy to preach against the whole 
theory, as thus publicly scorned. On the other 
hand, it seems never to occur to the critics that 
there may be a theory which has little in common 
with the one which has been condemned. Many 
exposures of ** Christian Science" have been pub- 
lished, but not one has gone to the root of the 
matter; hence every exposure has added fuel to 
the flames. 

There would be two rational methods of expos- 
ing "Christian Science" and its offshoots. One 
plan would be to make a thorough study of the 
facts of mental-healing practice. In this way one 
might assimilate all that is therapeutically sound, 
although the religious and metaphysical aspects of 
the theory would require separate consideration. 
The other method would be to seek the facts in 
regard to the early discoveries of mental healing, 
examine the inferences drawn from those discoveries 
by the founder of ** Christian Science," and select 
the sound from the unsound. For the best way to 

12 Health and the Inner Life 

understand an error is to discover its genesis. All 
this by way of suggestion to would-be destroyers of 
the doctrine. 

We are reminded, however, by wise men like the 
late Professor Joseph Le Conte that "pure unmixed 
error does not live to trouble us long." The fact 
that the rational mind-cure theory has survived 
more than fifty years is proof that it contains truth. 
The fact that the earlier form of the doctrine is the 
one that has been clung to most persistently by the 
class of people who make no noise in the world 
should be no less significant. But even "Christian 
Science" has played its part in our time. Hundreds 
of the more rational mental-healing exponents began 
as devotees of that doctrine which, with all its ex- 
travagances, at least served to awaken them from 
"dogmatic slumbers." 

From the point of view of the more rational 
mind-cure theory, nothing could have been more 
unfortunate, however, than the undue emphasis 
which has been put upon "Christian Science." The 
rational investigation which the whole subject de- 
mands has been kept back a score of years on 
account of it. Yet at any time during the last 
decade, to investigate would have been to discover 
that the mind-cure movement has come to stay, 
and to conclude that the best course to pursue is 
to search out the truth and cease to denounce the 
error. No remedy is so effectual as truth. A tithe 
of the energy which has been spent in denuncia- 
tions would have served to bring out the vital truth. 

Introduction 13 

The real fact to explain is not the "psychological 
moment," namely, the flocking of the multitude 
into "Christian Science" churches, but the fact of 
mental cure. If it were not for the cures which have 
somehow been wrought, the churches would never 
have been built. A spirit of genuine religion has 
also worked its way in. But the explanation of 
this fact belongs with the other. It is the peculiar 
connection of health with religion that constitutes 
the strangeness of the phenomenon. It is an in- 
teresting fact that the only person of great scholarly 
repute who has ever paid the mind-cure movement 
any serious attention seized upon its religious aspect 
as its practical essence.* 

The peculiarity of a doctrine which thrives upon 
its practical characteristics is that it appeals at first 
only to those who have experienced its benefits. 
All the pioneers of the mental-healing movement 
were restored invalids, and all the leaders since the 
early days have been restored to health under men- 
tal treatment. The mental-healing belief has forth- 
with become a metaphysic and a religion, but the 
prime interest was therapeutic. It was by restoring 
himself to health that P. P. Quimby, the parent 
mental healer in this country, discovered the central 
principles of the whole doctrine. The first mental- 
healing author, W. F. Evans, was a patient of Mr. 
Quimby before he began to write upon the subject. 
The same is true of the author of Science and Health. 

' See The Varieties of Religious Experience^ by Prof. William 
James. New York, 1902. 

1 4 Health and the Inner Life 

Whatever one's intent, then, whether it be to refute 
the error or to assimilate the truth, one should begin 
at the beginning, and endeavour to understand the 
theories which have meant so much to the pioneer 

The present discussion is intended both for the 
scientific student and for the practical man. Those 
who wish to understand the mental-healing methods 
will be able to select the principles which appeal to 
them by following the historical development of the 
general doctrine. On the other hand, those who 
are inclined to expose the whole teaching may 
perhaps be able to discover the first flaw in Mr. 
Quimby's reasoning, by collecting and comparing 
the quotations from his manuscripts which appear 
here and there in this volume. 

Those who read deeply will doubtless discover the 
truths which have caused the mind-cure movement 
to live. To study the original teachings is to be 
convinced that they sprang out of genuinely hu- 
man experience. No one can judge the teachings 
fairly who judges by the letter alone. The early 
devotees were filled with zeal for practical truths ; 
they were eager to help suffering humanity. They 
sometimes failed to say what they meant. But 
every one who reads sympathetically will see that 
their faith is susceptible of practical application, 
hence that the record of experience is often of more 
value than the theory which is brought forward to 
account for it. 

As contrasted with later forms of mental-healing 

Introduction 15 

theory, the tendency of the parent doctrine is to 
place emphasis upon understanding, rather than 
upon denial and affirmation. Mr. Quimby sought 
above all else to discover man's actual situation in 
life, then to see the wisdom of that situation. He 
made no attempt to deny the existence of the 
natural world, but sought its meaning in relation 
to the spiritual. Nor did he ignore the physical 
conditions of disease, well knowing that they are 
decidedly real to the person who is subject to them. 
His interest was to penetrate beneath the surface to 
the interior mental and spiritual causes. Any fact 
that might throw light on the inner conditions was 
to be welcomed. Hence the tendency of his 
thought was not to exclude but to analyse and to 
master, not to deny but to explain. Mr. Quimby 
was eager to follow the truth wherever it might 
lead, firm in the conviction that when discovered it 
would set man free. His own experience and in- 
sight had brought into view a more interior series 
of facts. On these he believed it possible to rear a 
truer science and art of life. It is this scientific 
interest, together with the profounder spiritual 
principles which it implies, which has been lost 
sight of during the reign of recent forms of mind- 
cure teaching. Were it not for this deeper interest 
many devotees of the movement would have had 
no connection with it. To approach the subject in 
this spirit is to put the whole teaching in a different 
light, to see that it is essentially rational, after all. 
At the same time one sees why the dozen or more 

1 6 Health and the Inner Life 

variations have developed from the original teaching 
by putting emphasis on certain favourite considera- 

There are a number of questions which occur to 
the mind when the mental-healing theory is brought 
forward in all seriousness. To inquire into the issues 
thus raised is to find the clue to the permanent in- 
terests which have made the mind cure possible. 
For example, the question arises, What is meant 
by saying that disease is largely of mental origin? 
How is it possible to alleviate or cure suffering by 
sitting silently beside a patient? How does it hap- 
pen that the facts of mental cure lead the person 
who is restored to health to take profound interest 
in psychology and philosophy? Why is the mode 
of life changed? Why should one connect the 
healing of disease with religion? 

It is with such questions that the present volume 
is concerned. The best result that can come to the 
reader will be the discovery that he is in the midst 
of a new investigation. Some of the earlier state- 
ments will be found of little permanent value. 
Their importance lies in the fact that they exhibit 
the clues which earnest souls have actually followed 
in the pursuit of truth. Hence the essential is the 
implied point of view. To realise even in some 
slight measure the significance of that point of view 
is to see that it has direct bearings upon everything 
that most intimately concerns the soul. 



FROM one point of view, the mind cure is as old 
as human belief. For if there is any efficacy 
in the objects with which superstition clothes itself, 
that power is found in man's belief in invisible 
agencies. Primitive beliefs were animistic. Man 
projected his own emotions and thoughts into the 
visible world. He sought to adjust his conduct so 
as to take advantage of supernatural powers. Very 
early there appeared a belief that disease could be 
cured by various occult practices. Works on an- 
thropology, such as Tylor's Primitive Culture^ 
abound in accounts of strange notions about sick- 
ness as supposedly caused by the partial maladjust- 
ment of the soul to the body, or to some other 
unusual mental condition, while peculiar beliefs 
about the efficacy of the mind are no less common. 
To this day, so the anthropologists assure us, there 
are savage peoples who believe that distant mem- 
bers of the tribe may be telepathically influenced. 
The principle that "like affects like" is common to 
both ancient and modem mind cure. For example, 
an act performed upon a certain part of the body 
is supposed by some savage peoples to produce a 



1 8 Health and the Inner Life 

corresponding effect upon an absent individual. In 
some tribes it has been the custom for the wives 
of the distant warriors to gather round the fire at 
home and put themselves through the operations 
which their liege lords were supposed just then to 
be going through, and hence to aid them to conquer. 
There is scarcely a tenet in the mind-cure faith of 
to-day that cannot be paralleled by a corresponding 
belief in ancient or savage times. In all ages and 
among various peoples there have been periods 
when belief in unusual powers have been prevalent. 
Many would set these down as outbreaks of cred- 
ulity. Others would say that the race will be sub- 
ject to such attacks until their law is understood, 
their meaning and truth assimilated. At any rate, 
these strange upheavals of all that is occult and 
weird are of peculiar interest to the mind-cure 
devotee, for they show that there has been a very 
general yearning after the knowledge which our age, 
at last, is likely to discover. Now that societies for 
psychical research exist, and scientific hypotheses 
concerning the subliminal region have been pro- 
posed, we are likely to assimilate the truth and dis- 
card the superstition. If our age has witnessed a 
more violent outbreak than the attacks of super- 
stition which have visited other times, the meaning 
probably is that we now have the scientific weapons 
wherewith to meet it. In the future there will per- 
haps be no need of special sects for the promulga- 
tion of such beliefs, for there will be a science of all 
such phenomena. 

Historical Sketch 19 

In India, where science has not been distinguished 
from superstition as we would discriminate, the age 
of belief in unusual powers has been practically con- 
tinuous. The literature of Buddhism is particularly 
rich in doctrines which the mind-cure devotee of 
to-day has restated. In the Dhammapada^ Buddha 
gives utterance to a sentence which might well stand 
for the modem theory oddly denominated the 
* ' New Thought. ' ' Buddha says : "All that we are 
is the result of what we have thought ; it is founded 
on our thoughts, it is made up of our thoughts." 
Every student of the Vedas and Upanishads knows 
that these Hindoo sacred books abound in state- 
ments which are almost identical with recent mind- 
cure sayings. In the Maitrayana Upanishad it is 
said that "thoughts cause the round of a new birth 
and a new death. . . . What a man thinks, that 
he is: this is the old secret." * 

In the least-known and speculatively less im- 
portant Atharva-Veda there are suggestions and 
affirmations for the cure of disease which rival in 
minuteness and number any modern mind-cure 
scheme. There are special charms to cure fever, 
headache, cough, jaundice, colic, heart disease, 
paralysis, hereditary disease, leprosy, scrofula, oph- 
thalmia, and dozens of other diseases. There are 
affirmations to overcome the effect of poison, to pro- 
cure easy childbirth, to conquer jealousy, to control 
the kind of offspring, even to obtain a husband or se- 
cure a wife. The modern devotees of "claims" for 

20 Health and the Inner Life 

success have been anticipated by the authors of this 
Veda^ who also point out how one may ** attract" 
prosperity. Even the charm for obtaining long life 
is given. Again, the principle is recognised that 
people who have little faith must eke out their faith 
by the use of material means. Here, for instance, 
is a suggestion to be made when one partakes of 
spring water to aid in carrying off foreign matter 
from the body: "The spring water yonder which 
runs down upon the mountain, that do I render 
healing for thee, in order that thou mayest contain 
a potent remedy." It is clear that the ancient 
sages understood all the secrets of the mind cure. 
For untold ages the "New Thought" has been old 
in India. 

Turning to Plato, one finds many hints that might 
be developed into mind-cure theory of the more 
rational type. Plato maintains that many of our 
ills and diseases are due to excess. He complains 
that certain kinds of medical practice tend to in- 
crease the number of diseases, and points out that 
people become invalids through failure to learn the 
lesson of their indiscretions. Temperance, modera- 
tion, balance, self-control, or order within — these 
are the remedies which Plato proposes. But for 
Plato no normal development of the soul is possible 
without the cultivation of the body. A sound mind 
in a beautiful body is his ideal. One who should 
take Plato's Republic for his practical guide might 
well dispense with most of the modern mental- 
healing theories. 

Historical Sketch 21 

Again, in the teachings of the Epicureans, the 
Stoics, and Sceptics, there are ideas and methods 
which remind one of current doctrines. The age 
of Greek practical philosophy was a period of belief 
in equanimity, inner peace, freedom from external 
disturbance. The first stress was put upon the 
inner life, and the philosopher practised what he 
taught by maintaining a wise attitude towards life. 
The relation of this attitude to bodily health ap- 
parently did not concern the philosopher of that 
day. Nevertheless, some of the essentials were 
known, and the benefits of the philosophic mode of 
life were experienced. It has remained for us to 
trace the connection between inner peace and bodily 

Through the middle ages there were outcroppings 
of doctrines and practices which still more closely 
resemble recent teachings. Instances of remarkable 
healing were more common than in earlier periods. 
Some of the later idealistic philosophers came very 
near the application of their philosophy to health. 
Again, in Spinoza's Ethics there are suggestions of 
mind-cure doctrines. The lives of philosophers such 
as Kant afford considerable material for reflection 
to all who are interested in the connection between 
physical health and the inner life. Just previous 
to and contemporaneously with the first mind-cure 
investigations in America, interest in what was then 
called "mental hygiene" began to appear here and 
there, and a number of books were written on the 
subject. There are also some points of resemblance 

22 Health and the Inner Life 

between the later mind-cure teachings and the theo- 
ries of The Philosophy of Electrical Psychology y by 
John Bovee Dods.* 

When all has been said, however, it is beyond dis- 
pute that it remained (or a man who knew almost 
nothing about the teachings of the past to make 
the investigations which in due course led to the 
development of what we now know as mental heal- 
ing. Now that we possess the theory, it is of course 
easy to find confirmatory evidences all through the 
ages, and allied interests in the nineteenth century. 
It is but fair, however, to acknowledge the work 
which really made the mind-cure movement possible, 
and, if any credit is given, assign it to the one who 
really deserves it. The movement sprang, directly 
or indirectly, from the work of half a dozen persons, 
all of whom were healed by the pioneer mental the- 
rapeutist of America. Many have enjoyed the 
after-benefits who have never heard of this pioneer. 
But that does not alter the fact that in a peculiar 
way their beliefs are bound up with the history of 
the movement. 

The history here narrated is not told for the 
^ake of exalting a personality, but because the 
facts bear upon the teachings in question. In 
our time, it is well understood that theorist and 
theory are inseparable. If we would rightly under- 
stand a doctrine which has taken firm hold of 
the people we must know how it arose in the life 
of the one who propounded it. To insist that it 
» New York, S. R. Wells, 1870. 

Historical Sketch 23 

came " by revelation " is nowadays no explanation. 
To put forth only such statements as chance to 
please their promulgator is to create an illusion 
which must some day be exposed. The well- 
informed know that every truth has had a long 
history. Truth and error are alike bound up with 
personal incidents which otherwise may be of slight 

Few men have begun and carried on an inves- 
tigation in a more humble and quiet way than 
Phineas Parkhurst Quimby, who was born in Le- 
banon, New Hampshire, February i6, 1802, and 
died in Belfast, Maine, January 16, 1866. When 
he was two years of age, his parents moved to Bel- 
fast, where he lived until his death, except during 
the busier years of his practice in Portland, Maine. 
His father was a blacksmith, and he was one of 
a family of seven children. On account of his 
father's scanty means, and because of the meagre 
educational opportunities at hand, his schooling 
was very limited. During his boyhood he at- 
tended the town school a part of the time, and 
there he acquired a knowledge of the rudimentary 
branches. His training was obtained for the most 
part, however, in the school of experience. He 
greatly regretted that his education had been so 
meagre, but the lack of it was plainly his misfor- 
tune and was not due to any defect on his part. 
In later years, when the desire came to familiar- 
ise himself with the philosophical teachings of the 
past, his life was too full to permit it. His son. 

24 Health and the Inner Life 

George A. Quimby, who is the authority for the 
facts here given/ says that 

** he had a very inventive turn of mind, and was always 
interested in mechanics, philosophy, and scientific sub- 
jects. During his middle life he invented several devices, 
on which he obtained letters patent.* He was very argu- 
mentative, and always wanted proof of anything rather 
than an accepted opinion. Anything that could be 
demonstrated he was ready to accept; but he would 
combat what could not be proved with all his energy 
rather than admit it as a truth." 

With a mind of this type, it was natural that 
when Charles Poyan, a Frenchman, introduced 
mesmerism into this country, about 1836, and later 
gave lectures and made experiments in Belfast, Mr. 
Quimby should become greatly interested. Here 
was a phenomenon that to him was entirely new 
and worthy of investigation. Accordingly he at 
once began to inquire into the subject, and when- 
ever he found a person who was willing to be 
experimented upon he would try to induce the 
mesmeric sleep. He frequently failed, but now and 
then found some one whom he could influence. 

**At that time Mr. Quimby was of medium height, 
small in stature, his weight about one hundred and 
twenty-five pounds; quick-motioned and nervous, with 
piercing black eyes, black hair and whiskers; a well- 
shaped, well-balanced head; high, broad forehead, and 

^ See the New England Magazine ^ March, 188S. 

Historical Sketch 25 

a rather prominent nose, and a mouth indicating strength 
and firmness of will; persistent in what he undertook, 
and not easily defeated or discouraged.' 

"In the course of his trials with subjects he met a 
young man named Lucius Burkmar, over whom he had 
the most wonderful influence; and it is not stating it too 
strongly to assert that with him he made some of the 
most astonishing exhibitions of mesmerism and clair- 
voyance that have been given in modem times. 

"At the beginning of these experiments, Mr. Quimby 
firmly believed that the phenomenon was the result of 
animal magnetism, and that electricity had more or less 
to do with it. Holding to this, he was never able to 
perform his experiments with satisfactory results when 
the 'conditions' were not right, as he believed they 
should be. For instance, during a thunder-storm his 
trials would prove utter failures. If he pointed the 
sharp end of a steel instrument at Lucius, Lucius would 
start as if pricked by a pin ; but when the blunt end was 
pointed toward him, he would remain unmoved. 

** One evening, after making some experiments with 
excellent results, Mr. Quimby found that during the 
time of the tests there had been a severe thunder-storm; 
but, so interested was he in his experiments, he had not 
noticed it. This led him to further investigate the sub- 
ject; and the results reached were that, instead of the 
subject being influenced by any atmospheric disturbance, 
the effects produced were brought about by the influence 
ot one mind on another. From that time he could pro- 
duce as good results during a storm as in pleasant 
weather, and could make his subject start by simply 

' George A. Quimby, as above cited. 

26 Health and the Inner Life 

pointing a finger at him as well as by using a steel 

** Mr. Quimby's manner of operating with his subject 
was to sit opposite him, holding both his hands in his, 
and looking him intently in the eye for a short time, 
when the subject would go into that state known as the 
mesmeric sleep, which was, more properly, a peculiar 
condition of mind and body, in which the natural senses 
would or would not operate at the will of Mr. Quimby. 
When conducting his experiments, all communications 
on the part of Mr. Quimby with Lucius were mentally 
given, the subject replying as if spoken to aloud. 

** For several years Mr. Quimby travelled with young 
Burkmar through Maine and New Brunswick, giving 
exhibitions, which at that time attracted much attention 
and secured notices through the columns of the news- 

** It should be remembered that at the time Mr. 
Quimby was giving these exhibitions, over forty-five 
years ago,* the phenomenon was looked upon in a far 
different light from that of the present day. At that 
time it was a deception, a fraud, and a humbug; and 
Mr. Quimby was vilified and frequently threatened with 
mob violence, as the exhibitions smacked too strongly of 
witchcraft to suit the people. 

** As the subject gained more prominence, thoughtful 
men began to investigate the matter, and Mr. Quimby 
was often called upon to have his subject examine the 
sick. He would put Lucius into the mesmeric state, 
who would then examine the patient, describe his disease, 
and prescribe remedies for its cure. 

* 1838-1842, 

Historical Sketch 27 

** After a time Mr. Quimby became convinced that 
whenever the subject examined a patient his diagnosis of 
the case would be identical with what either the patient 
himself or some one present believed, instead of Lucius 
really looking into the patient, and giving the true con- 
dition of the organs; in fact, that he was reading the 
opinion in the mind of some one, rather than stating a 
truth acquired by himself. 

"Becoming firmly satisfied that this was the case, and 
having seen how one mind could influence another, and 
how much there was that had always been considered as 
true, but was merely some one's opinion, Mr. Quimby 
gave up his subject, Lucius, and began the developing 
of what is now known as mental healing, or curing dis- 
ease through the mind. In accomplishing this he spent 
years of his life fighting the battle alone and labouring 
with an energy and steadiness of purpose that shortened 
it many years. 

'* To reduce his discovery to a science, which could 
be taught for the benefit of suffering humanity was the 
all-absorbing idea of his life. To develop his * theory, ' 
or 'the truth,' as he always termed it, so that others 
than himself could understand and practise it, was what 
he laboured for. Had he been of a sordid and grasping 
nature, he might have acquired unlimited wealth; but 
for that he seemed to have no desire. 

** In a magazine article it is impossible to follow the 
slow stages by which he reached his conclusions; for 
slow they were, as each step was in opposition to all the 
established ideas of the day, and was ridiculed and com- 
bated by the whole medical faculty and the great mass of 
the people. In the sick and suffering he always found 
staunch friends, who loved him and believed in him. 

28 Health and the Inner Life 

and stood by him; but they were but a handful com- 
pared with those on the other side. 

"While engaged in his mesmeric experiments, Mr. 
Quimby became more and more convinced that disease 
was an error of the mind, and not a real thing; and in 
this he was misunderstood by others, and accused of 
attributing the sickness of the patient to the imagination, 
which was the reverse of the fact. No one believed less 
in the imagination than he. ' If a man feels a pain, he 
knows he feels it, and there is no imagination about it,' 
he used to say. 

" But the fact that the pain might be a state of the 
mind, while apparent in the body, he did believe. As 
one can suffer in a dream all that it is possible to suffer 
in a waking state, so Mr. Quimby averred that the same 
condition of mind might operate on the body in the form 
of disease, and still be no more of a reality than was the 

** As the truths of his discovery began to develop and 
grow in him, just in the same proportion did he begin 
to lose faith in the efl&cacy of mesmerism as a remedial 
agent in the cure of the sick; and after a few years he 
discarded it altogether. Instead of putting the patient 
into a mesmeric sleep, Mr. Quimby would sit by him; 
and, after giving him a detailed account of what his 
troubles were, he would simply converse with him, and 
explain the causes of the troubles, and thus change the 
mind of the patient, and disabuse it of its errors and 
establish the truth in its place; which, if done, was the 
cure. He sometimes, in cases of lameness and sprains, 
manipulated the limbs of the patient, and often rubbed 
the head with his hands, wetting them with water. He 
said it was so hard for the patient to believe that his 

Historical Sketch 29 

mere talk with him produced the cure, that he did this 
rubbing simply that the patient would have more confi- 
dence in him; but he always insisted that he possessed 
no * power ' or healing properties different from any one 
else, and that his manipulations conferred no beneficial 
effect upon the patient, although it was often the case 
that the patient himself thought they did. On the con- 
trary, Mr. Quimby always denied emphatically that he 
used any mesmeric or mediumistic power. 

'* He was always in his normal condition when en- 
gaged with his patient. He never went into a trance, and 
was a strong disbeliever in spiritualism, as understood 
by that name. He claimed that his only power consisted 
in his wisdom, in his understanding of the patient's case, 
and his ability to explain away the error and establish 
the truth, or health, in its place. Very frequently the 
patient could not tell how he was cured; but it did not 
follow that Mr. Quimby himself was ignorant of the 
manner in which he performed the cure. 

'' Suppose a person should read an account of a rail- 
road accident, and see, in the list of killed, a son. The 
shock on the mind would cause a deep feeling of sorrow 
on the part of the parent, and possibly a severe sickness, 
not only mental, but physical. Now, what is the con- 
dition of the patient? Does he imagine his trouble? Is 
it not real? Is his body not affected, his pulse quick; 
and has he not all the symptoms of a sick person, and is 
he not really sick? Suppose you can go and say to him 
that you were on the train, and saw his son alive and 
well after the accident, and prove to him that the report 
of his death was a mistake. What follows? Why, the 
patient's mind undergoes a change immediately, and he 
is no longer sick. 

30 Health and the Inner Life 

** It was on this principle that Mr. Quimby treated the 
sick. He claimed that ' mind was spiritual matter, and 
could be changed * ; that we were made up of * truth and 
error * ; that * disease was an error, or belief, and that 
the truth was the cure.* And upon these premises he 
based all his reasoning, and laid the foundation of what 
he asserted to be the * science of curing the sick * with- 
out other remedial agencies than the mind.** 

Very much has sometimes been made of the fact 
that Mr. Quimby was once a mesmerist, and some 
have contended that he was never anything more. 
The simple facts are that mesmerism afforded him 
an opportunity to discover his own powers, and that 
when he saw the significance of mesmeric phenom- 
ena he discarded both the theory and the practice. 
This was years before his public work as a mental 
healer. That this was the case, the following quo- 
tations also show. In a lecture delivered in Boston, 
in 1887, at the request of those who wished to know 
about Mr. Quimby,* Julius A. Dresser said: 

** The first that I knew of P. P. Quimby was in June, 
i860, when I went to him as a patient, in Portland, 
Maine. This was five and a half years before his death. 
He had then been in the regular practice of mental heal- 
ing for many years, in different towns in Maine, and had 
been located in Portland about two years. There was 
at that time, i860, no one else in the practice in New 
England or in this country; nor was there at that time 
any one else who understood it as a science, he having 

* The True History of Mental Science ^ Boston, 1887 ; new edition, 

Historical Sketch 31 

been the discoverer and founder. He had then been at 
work more than twenty years in this field of discovery 
and practice. 

**The question may be asked, Was Quimby ever a 
mesmerist? I reply that he was, for a limited time, and 
for purposes of experiment and investigation. The truth 
came to him, not as a revelation pure and simple, but as 
the result of practical experiment and patient research, 
urged on by the impulses of an active, inquiring, com- 
prehensive mind. I have seen extracts from newspapers 
as far back as 1842-43, giving accounts of his public ex- 
hibitions of mesmerism, in some of which he was rated 
with a few others in this country and Europe who were 
the leading mesmerisers in the world. . . . 

** In his mesmeric experiments, as reported in the 
Maine papers in those years so long ago, Quimby is 
shown to have progressed gradually out of mesmerism 
into a knowledge of the hidden powers of minds. He 
soon found in man a principle, or a power, that was not 
of man himself, but was higher than man, and of which 
he could become a medium. Its character was goodness 
and intelligence, and its power was great. He also 
found that disease was primarily an erroneous belief of 
mind. Here was a discovery of truth; and on this dis- 
covery he founded a system of treating the sick, and 
founded a science of life." 

In a circular addressed to the sick, Mr. Quimby 
thus described his own system : 

** My practice is unlike all medical practice. I give no 
medicine, and make no outward applications. I tell the 
patient his troubles, and what he thinks is his disease; 

32 Health and the Inner Life 

and my explanation is the cure. If I succeed in correct- 
ing his errors, I change the fluids of the system and 
establish the truth, or health. The truth is the cure. This 
mode of practice applies to all cases." 

Commenting on this specific statement, Mr. 
Dresser continues : 

** These are Mr. Quimby's own words, and any one 
can see that they mean a purely mental treatment; for 
he speaks of what the patient thinks is his disease, and 
calls it his error, by saying that, if he succeeds in cor- 
recting the patient's errors, he then establishes the truth, 
and the truth is the cure. You see from this that he had 
discovered that disease was due to an error of mind, and 
the God-power of truth which he had discovered in man, 
being set up again in the victim of disease, destroyed the 
error, or disease, and re-established the harmony. 

** This discovery, you observe, was not made from the 
Bible, but from the study of mental phenomena and as 
the result of searching investigations; and, after the 
truth was discovered, he found his new views portrayed 
and illustrated in Christ's teachings and works. If you 
think this seems to show that Quimby was a remarkable 
man, let me tell you that he was one of the most unas- 
suming men who ever lived; for no one could well be 
more so, or make less account of his own achievements. 
Humility was a marked feature of his character (I knew 
him intimately). To this was united a benevolent and 
an unselfish nature, and a love of truth, with remarkably 
keen intuitive powers. But the distinguishing feature of 
his mind was that he could not entertain an opinion, be- 
cause it was not knowledge. His faculties were so prac- 

Historical Sketch 33 

tical and intuitive that the wisdom of mankind, which is 
largely made up of opinions, was of little value to him. 
Hence the charge that he was not an educated man is 
literally true. True knowledge to him was positive proof 
as in a problem of mathematics. Therefore, he dis- 
carded books and sought phenomena, where his intuitive 
faculties made him master of the situation. Therefore 
he got from his experiments in mesmerism what other 
men did not — a stepping-stone to a higher knowledge 
than man possessed, and a new range to mental vision." ^ 

But the best testimony is given in Mr. Quimby's 
own words. The following quotation, from a manu- 
script dated 1863, was read in the lecture referred 
to above and afterwards published in The True His- 
tory of Mental Science ^ but its real value has been 
lost sight of owing to the fact that it was quoted in 
another connection : 

"My conversion from disease to health, and 
the subsequent change from belief in the medi- 
cal faculty to entire disbelief in it, and to the 
knowledge of the truth on which i base my 


** Can a theory be found, capable of practice, which 
can separate truth from error? I undertake to say there 
is a method of reasoning which, being understood, can 
separate one from the other. Men never dispute about 
a fact that can be demonstrated by scientific reasoning. 
Controversies arise from some idea that has been turned 
into a false direction, leading to a false position. The 

* Op, atf new edition, p. lo. 

34 Health and the Inner Life 

basis of my reasoning is this point: that whatever is 
true to a person, if he cannot prove it, is not necessarily 
true to another. Therefore, because a person says a 
thing is no reason that he says true. The greatest evil 
that follows taking an opinion for a truth is disease. 
Let medical and religious opinions, which produce so 
vast an amount of misery, be tested by the rule I have 
laid down, and it will be seen how much they are 
founded in truth. For twenty years I have been testing 
them, and I have failed to find one single principle of 
truth in either. This is not from any prejudice against 
the medical faculty; for, when I began to investigate the 
mind, I was entirely on that side. I was prejudiced in 
favour of the medical faculty ; for I never employed any 
one outside of the regular faculty, nor took the least 
particle of quack medicine. 

** Some thirty years ago I was very sick, and was con- 
sidered fast wasting away with consumption. At that 
time I became so low that it was with difl&culty I could 
walk about. I was all the while under allopathic prac- 
tice, and I had taken so much calomel that my system 
was said to be poisoned with it, and I lost many of my 
teeth from that effect. My symptoms were those of any 
consumptive, and I had been told that my liver was 
affected, and my kidneys were diseased, and that my 
lungs were nearly consumed. I believed all this, from 
the fact that I had all the symptoms, and could not re- 
sist the opinions of the physician while having the proof 
within me. In this state I was compelled to abandon my 
business; and, losing all hope, I gave up to die, not that 
I thought the medical faculty had no wisdom, but that 
my case was one that could not be cured. 

** Having an acquaintance who cured himself by riding 

Historical Sketch 35 

horseback, I thought I would try riding in a carriage, as 
I was too weak to ride horseback. My horse was con- 
trary; and once, when about two miles from home, he 
stopped at the foot of a long hill, and would not start 
except as I went by his side. So I was obliged to run 
nearly the whole distance. Having reached the top of 
the hill I got into the carriage ; and, as I was very much 
exhausted, I concluded to sit there the balance of the 
day, if the horse did not start. Like all sickly and 
nervous people, I could not remain easy in that place; 
and, seeing a man ploughing, I waited till he. had 
ploughed around a three-acre lot, and got within sound 
of my voice, when I asked him to start my horse. He 
did so, and at the time I was so weak I could scarcely 
lift my whip. But excitement took possession of my 
senses, and I drove the horse as fast as he could go, up 
hill and down, till I reached home; and when I got into 
the stable I felt as strong as I ever did. . . . 

* * When I commenced to mesmerise, I was not well, 
according to the medical science, but in my researches I 
found a remedy for my disease. Here was where I first 
discovered that mind was matter,* and capable of being 
changed. Also, that disease being a deranged state of 
mind, the cause I found to exist in our belief. The evi- 
dence of this theory I found in myself, for like all others 
I had believed in medicine. Disease and its power over 
life, and its curability, are all embraced in our belief. 
Some believe in various remedies, and others believe 
that the spirits of the dead prescribe. I have no confi- 
dence in the virtue of either. I know that cures have 
been made in these ways. I do not deny them. But 

'By this Mr. Quimby means "spiritual matter,** or substance, a 
term which will be explained in later chapters. 

36 Health and the Inner Life 

the principle on which they are done is the question to 
solve, for disease can be cured, with or without medi- 
cine, on dut one principle} I have said I believed in the 
old practice, and its medicines, the effect of which I had 
within myself; for, knowing no other way to account for 
the phenomena, I took it for granted that they were the 
result of medicine. 

'' With this mass of evidence staring me in the face, 
how could I doubt the old practice? Yet, in spite of all 
my prejudices, I had to yield to a stronger evidence than 
man's opinion, and discard the whole theory of medi- 
cine, practised by a class of men, some honest, some 
ignorant, some selfish, and all thinking that the world 
must be ruled by their opinions. 

" Now for my particular experience. I had pains in 
the back, which they said were caused by my kidneys, 
which were partially consumed. I also was told that I 
had ulcers on my lungs. Under this belief, I was miser- 
able enough to be of no account in the world. This was 
the state I was in when I commenced to mesmerise. On 
one occasion, when I had my subject asleep, he de- 
scribed the pains I felt in my back (I had never dared 
to ask him to examine me, for I felt sure that my kidneys 
were nearly gone), and he placed his hand on the spot 
where I felt the pain. He then told me that my kidneys 
were in a very bad state; that one was half consumed, 
and a piece three inches long had separated from it, and 
was only connected by a slender thread. This was what 
I believed to be true, for it agreed with what the doctors 

1 This, for Mr. Quimby, is a fundamental proposition. It is im- 
portant to bear this statement in mind when considering the later 
developments of this theory. 

Historical Sketch 37 

told me» and with what I had suffered, for I had not 
been free from pain for years. My common sense told 
me that no medicine would ever cure this trouble, and 
therefore I must suffer till death relieved me. But I 
asked him if there was any remedy? He replied, ' Yes, 
I can put the piece on so it will grow and you will get 
well.' At this, I was completely astonished, and knew 
not what to think. He immediately placed his hands 
upon me, and said he united the pieces so they would 
grow. The next day he said they had grown together, 
and from that day I never have experienced the least 
pain from them. 

** Now what is the secret of the cure? I had not the 
least doubt but that I was as he described; and if he 
had said, as I expected that he would, that nothing 
could be done, I should have died in a year or so. But 
when he said he could cure me in the way he proposed, 
I began to think, and I discovered that I had been de- 
ceived into a belief that made me sick. The absurdity 
of his remedies made me doubt the fact that my kid- 
neys were diseased, for he said in two days they were as 
well as ever. If he saw the first condition, he also saw 
the last, for in both cases he said he could see. I con- 
cluded in the first instance that he read my thoughts, 
and when he said he could cure me, he drew on his own 
mind; and his ideas were so absurd that the disease 
vanished by the absurdity of the cure. This was the 
first stumbling-block I found in the medical science. I 
soon ventured to let him examine me further, and in 
every case he would describe my feelings, but would 
vary about the amount of disease, and his explanation 
and remedies always convinced me that I had no such 
disease, and that my troubles were of my own make. 

38 Health and the Inner Life 

"At this time I frequently visited the sick with Lucius, 
by invitation of the attending physician; and the boy 
examined the patient, and told facts that would astonish 
everybody, and yet every one of them was believed. For 
instance, he told a person affected as I had been, only 
worse, that his lungs looked like a honeycomb, and his 
liver was covered with ulcers. He then prescribed some 
simple herb tea and the patient recovered, and the doctor 
believed the medicine cured him. But I believed that 
the doctor made the disease, and his faith in the boy 
made a change in the mind, and the cure followed. In- 
stead of gaining confidence in the doctors, I was forced 
to the conclusion that their science is false. Man is 
made up of truth and belief, and if he is deceived into a 
belief that he has, or is liable to have, a disease, the be- 
lief is catching and the effect follows it. I have given 
the experience of my emancipation from this belief and 
from confidence in the doctors, so that it may open the 
eyes of those who stand where I was. I have risen from 
this belief, and I return to warn my brethren, lest when 
they are disturbed they shall get into this place of tor- 
ment prepared by the medical faculty. Having suffered 
myself, I cannot take advantage of my fellow-men by 
introducing a new mode of curing disease and prescrib- 
ing medicine. My theory exposes the hypocrisy of those 
who undertake to cure in that way. They make ten 
diseases to one cure, thus bringing a surplus of misery 
into the world, and shutting out a healthy state of society. 
They have a monopoly, and no theory that lessens dis- 
ease can compete with them. When I cure there is one 
disease the less ' ; but not so when others cure, for the 

^ That is, Mr. Quimby explained the genesis of the disease so that 
a recurrence could be avoided. 

Historical Sketch 39 

supply of sickness shows that there is more disease on 
hand than there ever was. Therefore, the labour for 
health is slow, and the manufactory of disease is greater. 
The newspapers teem with advertisements of remedies, 
showing that the supply of disease increases. My theory 
teaches man to manufacture health; and when people 
go into this occupation disease will diminish, and those 
who furnish disease and death will be few and scarce." 

Referring to this account of Mr. Quimby's ex- 
perience, the lecture on "the true history" con- 
tinues : 

** This account settles many things. First, it gives in 
detail one of the many experiences by which Mr. Quimby 
discovered this truth. It shows, also, the practical 
nature of the man's, mind, and illustrates his wonderful 
intuitive powers. And the article shows that no one 
could have written it but the one whose experience it 
describes ; and it shows, too, that what he arrived at was 
the knowledge that disease is due to an error of belief, 
to be corrected by the truth. On this basis he practised 
ever afterward. How could he do otherwise, after mak- 
ing such a discovery? And this discovery was made 
about forty-five years ago. All these facts can be fully 
substantiated by consulting certain newspaper files, and 
certain persons who are familiar with it all. And this 
theory, that disease is an error of belief to be corrected 
by the truth, not only formed the basis of * a science of 
health ' which Mr. Quimby introduced, but it is the sub- 
ject of voluminous manuscripts devoted to the *true 
science of life and happiness,' and others in which he 
explained and 'defended Christ's sayings, his gospel, and 
his work. He also wrote upon the true standard of law 

40 Health and the Inner Life 

and of government, and upon other topics. All these 
writings I have read, being in the confidence of George 
A. Quimby, the son, who holds them. 

** Such is the spirit of the kind of truth that I learned 
from P. P. Quimby, and the kind that he himself prac- 
tised; and his spirit of love so opened his soul to the 
God-power that his works were marvellous. The quick 
cures that he wrought have not been equalled by any one 
since his time, so far as I know. Myself and wife have 
owed our lives to him for nearly twenty-seven years, and 
to the truth he revealed to us.* Thousands of others 
could make a similar testimony, but I prefer not to 
occupy time with relating his cures. The man himself 
never desired publicity. The truth itself and the good 
of humanity were the first and last considerations with 
him. He even had no fixed name for his theory or 
practice, desiring to be known only by his fruits. He 
sank the individual wholly in the cause of truth and the 
good of humanity. 

** It is the intention of your speaker to relate this his- 
tory so as to avoid any appearance of fulsome praise, 
because the man Quimby would not desire it; and it is 
my aim only to relate plain facts in a plain manner, and 
I request you therefore to consider no statement herein 
as overdrawn. Your attention is called to one important 
fact, and that is, that the kind of individual I am de- 
scribing in the person of P. P. Quimby is the kind who 
can make discoveries of truths if any one can, that is, a 
mind of great capabilities, coupled with great humility 
and extreme unselfishness. This is the kind of instru- 

' This was written in 1887. 

Historical Sketch 41 

ment that God speaks through, because such a soul is 
open to the divine inspiration. On the other hand, a sel- 
fish soul, who seeks personal aggrandisement, is not open 
to revelations of much moment, because selfishness al- 
ways blinds one. The truth does not flourish in such soil. 

** P. P. Quimby's intuitive powers were remarkable. 
He always told the patient, at the first sitting, what the 
latter thought was his disease; and, as he was able to do 
this, he never allowed the patient to tell him anything 
about his case. Quimby would also tell the patient what 
the circumstances were which first caused the trouble, 
explain to him how he fell into his error, and then 
from this basis prove to him, in many instances, that his 
state of suffering was an error of mind, and not what he 
thought it was. Thus his system of treating diseases 
was really and truly a science, which proved itself. You 
see, also, from these statements, how he taught his 
patients to understand, and how persons who went to 
him for treatment were instructed in the truth, as well 
as restored to health. In this way some of his patients 
became especially instructed, as did your speaker. 

" Nearly all, in those days, who were willing to try a 
practitioner outside of the medical schools, had ex- 
hausted every means of help within those schools; and, 
when finally booked for the grave, they would send for 
or go to Quimby. As he expressed it, they would send 
for him and for the undertaker at the same time, and 
the one who got there first would get the case. Conse- 
quently, his battle with error, alone and single-handed, 
was a hard one, especially as in those days there was 
much less liberality than now. 

*' Some may desire to ask if, in his practice, he ever 
in any way used manipulation. I reply that, in treating 

42 Health and the Inner Life 

a patient, after he had finished his explanations, and the 
silent work, which completed the treatment^ he usually 
rubbed the head two or three minutes, in a brisk man- 
ner, for the purpose of letting the patient see that some- 
thing was done. This was a measure of securing the 
confidence of the patient at a time when he was starting 
a new practice, and stood alone in it. I knew him to 
make many and quick cures at a distance, sometimes 
with persons he never saw at all. He never considered 
the touch of the hand as at all necessary, but let it be 
governed by circumstances, as was done eighteen hun- 
dred years ago. 

*• This truth which P. P. Quimby brought forth, and 
for years laboured unceasingly to give to the world, and 
finally laid down his life in its cause — this glorious truth 
is still blessing us ; and it will do so more and more unto 
the perfect day. It is a revelation of truth that makes 
us free indeed ! And we have only to set aside self-love 
and self-glory and work earnestly in this cause, by every 
word and deed of love that opportunity offers, to find 
ourselves growing gradually into all wisdom and under- 
standing, and out of and away from every ill and every 
form of unhappiness. " 

The lecture closed with the following quotation 
from Mr. Quimby 's manuscripts: 

** Every disease is the invention of man, and has no 
identity in wisdom ; but, to those who believe it, it is a 
truth.* If everything man does not understand were 

' That is, it is due to man's erroneous use of powers that were 
meant for his good. By the term ** identity," as here used, Mr. 
Quimby means reality. 

Historical Sketch 43 

blotted out, what would be left of man? Would he be 
better or worse, if nine-tenths of all he thinks he knows 
were blotted out of his mind, and he existed with what 
is true? 

*' I contend that he would, as it were, sit on the clouds, 
and see the world beneath him tormented with ideas that 
form living errors, whose weight is ignorance. Safe from 
their power he would not return to the world's belief for 
any consideration. 

* * In a slight degree, this is my case. I sit, as it were, 
in another world or condition, as far above the belief in 
disease as the heavens are above the earth, and though 
safe myself, I grieve for the sins of my fellow-man ; and 
I am reminded of the words of Jesus when he beheld 
the misery of his countrymen: *0 Jerusalem! How 
often would I have gathered thee as a hen gathereth her 
chickens, but ye would not. ' 

** I hear this truth now pleading with man to listen to 
the voice of reason. I know from my own experience 
with the sick that their troubles are the effect of their 
own belief; not that their belief is the truth, but their 
beliefs act upon their minds, bringing them into subjec- 
tion to their belief, and their troubles are a change that 

** Disease is a reality to all mankind; but I do not in- 
clude myself, because I stand outside of it, where I can 
see things real to the world and things that are real to 
wisdom. I know that I can distinguish that which is 
false from a truth, in religion, or in disease. To me, 
disease is always false; but, to those who believe it, it is 
a truth, and the errors of religion the same. Until the 
world is shaken by investigation, so that the rocks and 
mountains of religious error arc removed and the medical 

44 Health and the Inner Life 

Babylon destroyed, sickness and sorrow will prevail. 
Feeling as I do, and seeing so many young people go on 
the broad road to destruction, I can say from the bottom 
of my soul: O Priestcraft! fill up the measure of your 
cups of iniquity, for on your head will come, sooner or 
later, the sneers and taunts of the people. Your theory 
will be overthrown by the voice of wisdom that will 
rouse the men of science, who will battle your error and 
drive you utterly from the face of the earth. Then there 
will arise a new science, followed by a new mode of 
reasoning, which shall teach man that to be wise and 
well is to unlearn his errors." 

Continuing the sketch of his father's life already 
quoted from,* Mr. George Quimby says: 

"In the year 1859 Mr. Quimby went to Portland, 
where he remained until the summer of 1865, treating 
the sick by his peculiar method. It was his custom to 
converse at length with many of his patients, who be- 
came interested in his method of treatment, and to try 
to unfold to them his ideas. 

"Among his earlier patients in Portland were the 
Misses Ware, daughters of the late Judge Ashur Ware, 
of the U. S. Court; and they became much interested 
in ' the truth,* as he called it. But the ideas were so 
new, and his reasoning was so divergent from the popular 
conceptions, that they found it difficult to follow him or 
remember all he said; and they suggested to him the 
propriety of putting into writing the body of his thoughts. 

"From that time he began to write out his ideas, 
which practice he continued until his death, the article^ 

1 Ntw England Magatine^ March, 1888, 

Historical Sketch 45 

now being in the possession of the writer of this sketch. 
The original copy he would give to the Misses Ware, 
and it would be read to him by them; and, if he sug- 
gested any alteration, it would be made, after which it 
would be copied either by the Misses Ware or the writer 
of this and then re-read to him, that he might see that 
all was just as he intended it. Not even the most trivial 
word or the construction of a sentence would be changed 
without consulting him. He was given to repetition; 
and it was with difficulty that he could be induced to 
have a repeated sentence or phrase stricken out, as he 
would say, ' If that idea is a good one, and true, it will 
do no harm to have it in two or three times.' He be- 
lieved in the hammering process, and of throwing an idea 
or truth at the reader till it should be firmly fixed in his 
mind. . . . 

'* Mr. Quimby, although not belonging to any church 
or sect, had a deeply religious nature, holding firmly to 
God as the first cause, and fully believing in immortality 
and progression after death, though entertaining entirely 
original conceptions of what death is. He believed that 
Jesus' mission was to the sick, and that he performed 
his cures in a scientific manner, and perfectly understood 
how he did them. Mr. Quimby was a great reader of 
the Bible, but put a construction upon it thoroughly in 
harmony with his train of thought. . . . 

" Mr. Quimby's idea of happiness was to benefit man- 
kind, especially the sick and suffering; and to that end 
he laboured and gave his life and strength. His patients 
not only found in him a doctor, but a sympathising 
friend; and he took the same interest in treating a 
charity patient that he did a wealthy one. Until the 
writer went with him as secretary, he kept no accounts 

46 Health and the Inner Life 

and made no charges. He left the keeping of books 
entirely with his patients ; aad, although he pretended to 
have a regular price for visits and attendance he took at 
settlement whatever the patient chose to pay him. 

**The last five years of his life were exceptionally 
hard. He was overcrowded with patients and greatly 
overworked, and could not seem to find an opportunity 
for relaxation. At last nature could no longer bear up 
under the strain; and, completely tired out, he took to 
his bed, from which he never rose again. While strong, 
he had always been able to ward off any disease that 
would have affected another person ; but, when tired out 
and weak, he no longer had the strength of will or the 
reasoning powers to combat the sickness which termi- 
nated his life. 

*' An hour before he breathed his last he said to the 
writer: * I am more than ever convinced of the truth of 
my theory. I am perfectly willing for the change my- 
self, but I know you will all feel badly; but / know that 
I shall be right here with you, just the same as I have 
always been. I do not dread the change any more than 
if I were going on a trip to Philadelphia. * 

** His death occurred January i6, 1866, at his resi- 
dence in Belfast, at the age of sixty-four years, and was 
the result of too close application to his profession, and 
of overwork. A more fitting epitaph could not be ac- 
corded him than in these words : 

** * Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay 
down his life for his friends. ' For, if ever a man did 
lay down his life for others, that man was Phineas Park- 
hurst Quimby." 



IT was some time in i860 that I first heard of Mr. 
Quimby. He was then practising his method 
of curing the sick in Portland. My home was a few 
miles from that city, and we often heard of the 
wonderful work he was doing. We also heard 
something about his philosophy; and, as he made 
war with the prevailing theories of the day, there 
was a strong prejudice against him in the minds of 
many people. His patients, however, became his 
friends, and he gradually won his way into the 
hearts of the people, especially among those who 
had received benefit from him, either through his 
practice or his ideas; and his fame spread more and 

My own experience was very interesting, and was 
attended with most happy results. In fact, my first 
interview with Mr. Quimby marked a turning-point 
in my life, from which there has been no turning 

I went to him in May, 1862, as a patient, after 

* This chapter was in large part written by Annetta G. Dresser for 
a work now out of print, The Philosophy of P. P, Qmmby^ Boston, 
1895. The chapter has been revised, with additions. 


48 Health and the Inner Life 

six years of g^eat suffering, and as a last resort, 
after all other methods of cure had utterly failed to 
bring relief. I had barely faith enough to be will- 
ing to go to him, as I had been greatly prejudiced, 
and still had more of doubt and fear than expect- 
ancy of receiving help. But all fear was taken 
away when I met this good man, with his kindly 
though searching glance. 

The events connected with this first interview are 
as vivid in mind as those of yesterday. It was like 
being turned from death to life, and from ignorance 
of the laws that governed me to the light of truth, 
in so far as I could understand the meaning of his 

In order to understand the great change which 
then came into my life, let the reader picture a 
young girl taken away from school, deprived of all 
the privileges enjoyed by her associates, shut up for 
six years in a sick-room, under many kinds of severe 
and experimental treatment in its worst forms, con- 
stantly growing worse, told by her minister that it 
was the will of God that she should suffer all this 
torture, seeing the effect of all this trying experience 
upon the dear ones connected with her, — simply 
struggling for an existence, and yet seeing no way 
of escape except through death, — and the reader 
will have some idea of the state I was in when taken 
before this strange physician. And, in order to 
complete the picture, let the reader imagine the 
inner conflict between all this that was so disheart- 
ening and a hope that never wavered, a feeling that 

Personal Testimony 49 

there was a way of escape, if it could only be found, 
a conviction deeper than all this agony of soul and 
body that the whole situation was wrong, that the 
torturing treatment was wholly unnecessary, and 
that it was not God's will that any one should be 
kept in such a prison of darkness and suffering. 

To have this great hope realised was indeed like 
the glad escape of a prisoner from the darkest and 
most miserable dungeon. Yet timid, and expecting 
to find a man without sympathy, who would at- 
tempt some sort of magic with me, it was naturally 
with much fear and trembling that I made my first 
visit to his office. 

Instead of this, I found a kindly gentleman who 
met me with such sympathy and gentleness that I 
immediately felt at ease. He seemed to know at 
once the attitude of mind of those who applied to 
him for help, and adapted himself to them accord- 
ingly. His years of study of the human mind, of 
sickness in all its forms, and of the prevailing re- 
ligious beliefs, gave him the ability to see through 
the opinions, doubts, and fears of those who sought 
his aid, and put him in instant sympathy with their 
mental attitude. He seemed to know that I had 
come to him feeling that he was a last resort, and 
with but little faith in him or his mode of treatment. 
But, instead of telling me that I was not sick, he sat 
beside me, and explained to me what my sickness 
was, how I got into the condition, and the way I 
could have been taken out of it through the right 
understanding. He seemed to see through the situ^ 

50 Health and the Inner Life 

ation from the beginning, and explained the cause 
and effect so clearly that I could see a little of what 
he meant. My case was so serious, however, that 
he did not at first tell me I could be made well. 
But there was such an effect produced by his ex- 
planation that I felt a new hope within me, and 
began to get well from that day. 

He continued to explain my case from day to 
day, giving me some idea of his theory and its rela- 
tion to what I had been taught to believe, and 
sometimes sat silently with me for a short time. I 
did not understand much that he said, but I felt 
*'the spirit and the life" that came with his words; 
and I found myself gaining steadily. Some of these 
pithy sayings of his remained constantly in mind, 
and were very helpful in preparing the way for a 
better understanding of his thought, such, for in- 
stance, as his remark, that ** Whatever we believe, 
that we create," or, "Whatever opinion we put into 
a thing, that we take out of it." 

The general effect of these quiet sittings with 
him was to light up the mind, so that one came in 
time to understand the troublesome experiences 
and problems of the past in the light of his clear 
and convincing explanations. I remember one day 
especially, when a panorama of past experiences 
came before me, and I saw just how my trouble 
had been made; how I had been kept in bondage 
and enslaved by the doctors and the false opinions 
that had been given me. From that day the connec- 
tion was broken with these painful experiences and 

Personal Testimony 51 

the terrible practices and experiments which had 
added so much to my trouble; and I lived in a 
larger and freer world of thought. 

The most vivid remembrance I have of Mr. 
Quimby is his appearance as he came out of his 
private office ready for the next patient. That in- 
describable sense of conviction, of clear-sightedness, 
of energetic action — that something that made one 
feel that it would be useless to attempt to cover up 
or hide anything from him — made an impression 
never to be forgotten. Even now in recalling it, 
after thirty-three years, I can feel the thrill of new 
life which came with his presence and his look. 
There was something about him that gave one a 
sense of perfect confidence and ease in his presence, 
— a feeling that immediately banished all doubts 
and prejudices, and put one in sympathy with that 
quiet strength or power by which he wrought his 

We took our turn in order, as we happened to 
come to the office; and, consequently, the recep- 
tion-room was usually full of people waiting their 
turn. People were coming to Mr. Quimby from 
all parts of New England, usually those who had 
been given up by the best practitioners, and who 
had been persuaded to try this new mode of treat- 
ment as a last resort. Many of these came on 
crutches or were assisted into the office by some 
friend; and it was most interesting to note their 
progress day by day, or the remarkable change pro- 
duced by a single sitting with the doctor. I remem- 

52 Health and the Inner Life 

ber one woman who had used crutches for twenty 
years, who walked without them after a few weeks. 

Among those in waiting were usually several 
friends or pupils of Mr. Quimby, who often met in 
his rooms to talk over the truths he was teaching 
them. It was a rare privilege for those who were 
waiting their turn for treatment to listen to these 
discussions between the strangers and these dis- 
ciples of his, also to get a sentence now and then 
from the doctor himself, who would often express 
some thought that would set us to thinking deeply 
or talking earnestly. 

In this way Mr. Quimby did considerable teach- 
ing ; and this was his only opportunity to make his 
ideas known. He did not teach his philosophy in 
a systematic way in classes or lectures. His per- 
sonal explanations to each patient, and his readiness 
to explain his ideas to all who were interested, 
brought him in close sympathy with all who went 
to him for help. But further than that he had no 
time for teaching, as he was always overrun with 

Those were days to be remembered. One who 
never saw him can hardly imagine the conviction of 
truth that one felt when he uttered a sentence. He 
seemed to see through all the falsities of life, and far 
into the depths and into the spirit of things ; and 
his penetrating vision was so keen and true that one 
felt as if in the presence of a great light that could 
destroy the darkness of all that stood in his way. 

We all loved him truly and devotedly ; for how 

Personal Testimony 53 

could we help it? He was full of love for humanity, 
and he was constantly labouring for others without 
regard to himself. It has always seemed strange to 
me that any one who knew him and was taught by 
him could ever forget his loving sympathy and 
kindness of heart. He was one that inspired all 
honest souls with a conviction of his own sincerity. 
He had nothing to gain or lose; for his own life 
was a constant outflowing of the spirit of truth in 
which he lived. 

Consequently, he freely gave of all that he had ; 
and if any one evinced any particular interest in 
his theory he would lend his manuscripts and allow 
his early writings to be copied. Those interested 
would in turn write articles about his "theory" or 
"the truth/' as he called it, and bring them to him 
for his criticism. But no one thought of making any 
use of these articles while he lived, or even to try his 
mode of treatment in a public way ; for all looked up 
to him as the master whose works so far surpassed 
anything they could do that they dared not try. 

It was also at this time, 1862, that Mrs. Eddy 
[then Mrs. Patterson], author of Science and Healthy 
was treated by Mr. Quimby ; and I well remember 
the day when she was helped up the steps to his 
oflice on the occasion of her first visit for mental 
treatment. She was cured by him, and afterwards 
became very much interested in his theory. But she 
put her own construction on much of his teaching, 
and developed a doctrine which is for the most part a 
one-sided interpretation of the Quimby philosophy. 

54 Health and the Inner Life 

This does not seem strange when one considers 
how much there was to learn from a man as original 
as Mr. Quimby, and one who had so long investi- 
gated the human mind. Unless one had passed 
through a similar experience, and penetrated to the 
centre of things as he had, one could not appreciate 
his explanations sufficiently to carry out his particu- 
lar line of thought. Hence none of the systems 
that have sprung up since Mr. Quimby's death, al- 
though originating in his researches and practice, 
have justly represented his philosophy. 

His treatment did not consist of denials and 
affirmations, nor did he treat any two cases alike. 
He had a wonderful power of adaptability, and used 
such language and illustrations as were suggested by 
the calling or belief of his patients. Thus, in talking 
with a musician he would use music as an illustra- 
tion. His treatment was largely explanatory — an 
explanation of the real as opposed to the seeming 
condition of the patient. He seemed to make a 
complete separation between the sufferer and the 
sickness, and he talked to the sufferer in such a 
manner that, gradually, his senses would become at- 
tached to the new life or wisdom which his words 
conveyed instead of the painful sensations ; and, as 
this continued, the sickness disappeared. 

In one of his articles, written in 1861, Mr. Quimby 
thus describes his method of cure : 

** A patient comes to see Mr. Quimby. He renders 
himself absent to everything but the impression of the 

Personal Testimony 55 

person's feelings. These are quickly daguerreotyped on 
him. They contain no intelligence, but shadow forth a 
reflection of themselves which he looks at. This con- 
tains the disease as it appears to the patient. Being 
confident that it is the shadow of a false idea, he is not 
afraid of it, . . . Then his feelings* in regard to 
the disease, which are health and strength, are daguerreo- 
typed on the receptive plate of the patient, which also 
throws forth a shadow. The patient, seeing this shadow 
of the disease in a new light, gains confidence. This 
change of feeling is daguerreotyped on the doctor again. 
This also throws forth a shadow; and he sees the change, 
and continues to treat it in the same way. So the pa- 
tient's feelings sympathise with his, the shadow changes 
and grows dim, and finally disappears, the light takes its 
place, and there is nothing left of the disease." 

In a letter addressed to the editor of the Portland 
Advertiser J February 13, 1862, Mr. Quimby explains 
his position as follows: 

*' As you have given me the privilege of answering an 
article in your paper of the nth inst., where you classed 
me with spiritualists, mesmerisers, clairvoyants, etc., I 
take this occasion to state where I differ from all classes 
of doctors, from the allopathic physician to the healing 

** All these admit disease as an independent enemy of 
mankind, but the mode of getting rid of it divides them 
in their practice. The old school admit that medicines 

* That is, his wiser thinking, together with the idealistic mental 
pictures implied therein. 

56 Health and the Inner Life 

contain certain curative properties, and that certain 
medicines will produce certain effects. This is their 
honest belief. The homoeopathic physicians believe 
their infinitesimals produce certain effects. This is also 
honest. But I believe all their medicine is of infinitely 
less importance than the opinions that accompany it. 

*' I never make war with medicine, but [with] opinions. 
I never try to convince a patient that his trouble arises 
from calomel or any other poison, but the poison of the 
doctor's opinion in admitting a disease. 

"But another class, under cover of spiritualism and 
mesmerism, claim power from another world; and to 
these my remarks are addressed. I was one of the first 
mesmerisers in the state who gave public experiments, 
and had a subject who was considered the best then 
known. He examined and prescribed for diseases just 
as this class do now. And I know just how much re- 
liance can be placed on a medium; for, when in this 
state, they [the spiritualistic mediums] are governed by 
the superstition and beliefs of the person they are in 
communication with, and read their thoughts and feel- 
ings in regard to their disease, whether the patient is 
aware of them or not. 

* ' The capacity of thought-reading is the common ex- 
tent of mesmerism. Clairvoyance is very rare, and can 
be easily tested by blindfolding the subject and giving 
him a book to read. If he can read without seeing, that 
is conclusive evidence that he has independent sight. 
This state is of very short duration. They then come 
into that state where they are governed by surrounding 
minds. All the mediums of this day reason about medi- 
cine as much as the regular physician. They believe in 
disease and recommend medicine. 

Personal Testimony 57 

" When I mesmerised my subject, he would prescribe 
some little simple herb that would do no harm or good 
of itself. In some cases this would cure the patient. I 
also found that any medicine could cure certain cases if 
he ordered it. This kd me to investigate the matter, 
and arrive at the stand I now take: that the cure is not 
in the medicine, but in the confidence of the doctor or 
medium. A clairvoyant never reasons or alters his 
opinion; but if, in the first state of thought-reading he 
prescribes medicine, he must be posted by some mind 
interested in it, and also must derive his knowledge from 
the same source the doctors do. 

"The subject I had left me, and was employed by 

, who employed him in examining diseases in the 

mesmeric sleep, and taught him to recommend such 
medicines as he got up himself in Latin; and, as the boy 
did not know Latin, it looked very mysterious. Soon 
afterwards he was at home again, and I put him to sleep 
to examine a lady, expecting that he would go on in his 
old way; but instead of that he wrote a long prescription 
in Latin. I awoke him, that he might read it; but he 
could not. So I took it to the apothecary's, who said 
he had the articles, and that they would cost twenty 
dollars. This was impossible for the lady to pay. So I 
returned, and put him asleep again; and he gave his 
usual prescription of some little herb, and she got well. 

'* This, with the fact that all the mediums admit dis- 
ease, and derive their knowledge from the common allo- 
pathic belief, convinces me that, if it were not for the 
superstition of the people, believing that these subjects, 
merely because they have their eyes shut, know more 
than the apothecaries, they could make few cures. Let 
any medium open his eyes, and let the patient describe 

58 Health and the Inner Life 

his disease, then the medicine would do about as much 
good as brown bread pills. But let the eyes be shut, and 
then comes the mystery. It is true they will tell the 
feelings, but that is all the difference. 

** Now, I deny disease as a truth, but admit it as a de- 
ception, started like all other stories without any founda- 
tion, and handed down from generation to generation 
till the people believe it, and it has become a part of their 
lives. So they live a lie, and their senses are in it.' 

** To illustrate this, suppose I tell a person he has the 
diphtheria; and he is perfectly ignorant of what I mean. 
So I describe the feelings, and tell the danger of the dis- 
ease, and how fatal it is in many places. This makes the 
person nervous, and I finally convince him of the disease. 
I have now made one; and he attaches himself to it, and 
really understands it, and he is in it soul and body. 
Now he goes to work to make it, and in a short time it 
makes its appearance. 

* * My way of curing convinces him that he has been 
deceived ; and, if I succeed, the patient is cured. As it 
is necessary that he should feel I know more than he 
does, I tell his feelings. This he cannot do to me, for 
I have no fears of diphtheria. 

** My mode is entirely original. I know what I say; 
and they do not, if their word is to be taken. Just so 
long as this humbug of inventing disease continues, just 
so long the people will be sick and be deceived by the 
above-named crafts. 

'*P. P. QUIMBY." 

1 That is, the consciousness of the natural man is absorbed in it. 
Hence the disease is real for him, although it has no reality in 
spiritual truth. 

Personal Testimony 59 

It was Mr. Quimby's clear-cut perception and un- 
derstanding of the case which enabled him to make 
this separation between the better or real self of 
the patient and the personal fear and beliefs which, 
as he says in the above illustration, were daguerreo- 
typed on him. The perception or explanation was 
itself the cure, and there was no need either of argu- 
ment or of an attempt to transfer his thoughts to 
the patient. The separation once made, a change 
was bound to result ; for the attention was carried 
with it, the whole mental attitude changed as well, 
and the patient was freed from the tormenting sen- 
sations and fears which had been all-absorbing — 
absorbing so long, and only so long, as the con- 
sciousness was turned in the wrong direction.* 

His first effort, then, in every case was to free the 
sufferer from whatever held soul and body in bond- 
age, and to make his explanation so clear that the 
patient should consciously see the whole experience 
in its true light ; and every one knows that, when 
we see through a thing that has caused us trouble, 
its power over us is lost, just as when a startling 
rumour is denied, or as though one were to meet a 
lion in the forest, and then learn that he was 
chained, and could do no harm. 

There seemed to be no obstacle to Mr. Quimby's 
mental vision. I once knew a lady to go to him 
simply to test his ability to read her. She remarked 

* This process of separation between " the real man" and the im- 
prisoning mental states and beliefs was an important step in Mr. 
Quimby's method of treatment. 

6o Health and the Inner Life 

to others that she did not believe he could help her, 
or tell her what caused her trouble. He received 
her as he would any one, and after a few moments 
— without a word having been spoken — took his 
chair, and, placing it before her, sat down with his 
back to her, saying: *'That is the way you feel to- 
wards me. I think you do not need my services, 
and that you had better go home." 

The following quotation from a letter to a clergy- 
man, under date of October 28, i860, illustrates 
the care with which he discriminated between his 
own opinion and that of the higher Wisdom which 
enabled him to perform his wonderful cures : 

" Your letter of the i8th was received; but, owing to 
a pressure of business, I neglected answering it. I will 
try to give you the wisdom you ask. So far as giving an 
opinion is concerned, it is out of my power as a physi- 
cian, though as a man I might, but it would be of no 
service ; for it would contain no wisdom except of this 
world. My practice is not of the wisdom of man, so my 
opinion as a man is of no value. Jesus said, ' If I judge 
of myself, my judgment is not good, but, if I judge of 
God, it is right ' ; for that contains no opinion. So, if 
I judge as a man, it is an opinion; and you can get 
plenty of them anywhere. 

'* You inquire if I have ever cured any cases of chronic 
rheumatism? I answer. Yes; but there are as many 
cases of chronic rheumatism as there are of spinal com- 
plaint, so that I cannot decide your case by another. 
You cannot be saved by pinning your faith on another's 
sleeve. Every one must answer for his own sins or be- 

Personal Testimony 61 

lief. Our beliefs are the cause of our misery^ and our 
happiness and misery follow our belief. . . . 

** You ask if my practice belongs to any known science. 
My answer is, No, it belongs to a Wisdom that is above 
man as man. ... It was taught eighteen hundred 
years ago, and has never had a place in the heart of man 
since, but is in the world, and the world knows it not." 

Again, in reply to a young physician in a letter 
dated September 16, i860, he says: 

** To answer any question with regard to my mode of 
treatment would be like asking a physician how he knows 
a patient has the typhoid fever by feeling the pulse, and 
request the answer direct, so that the person asking the 
question could sit down and be sure to define the disease 
from the answer. My mode of treatment is not decided 
in that way. . . . If it were in my power to give to 
the world the benefit of twenty years' hard study in one 
short or long letter, it would have been before the people 
long before this. The people ask they know not what. 
You might as well ask a man to tell you how to talk 
Greek without studying it as to ask me to tell you how 
I test the true pathology of disease, or how I test the 
true diagnosis of disease. All of these questions would 
be very easily answered if I assumed a standard, and 
then tested all disease by that standard. 

" The old mode of determining the diagnosis of dis- 
ease is made up of opinions about diseased persons, in 
their right mind and out of it, and under a nervous state 
of mind, all mixed up together and set down, accom- 
panied by a certain state of pulse. In this dark chaos 
of error, they come to certain results like this: If you 

62 Health and the Inner Life 

see a man going towards the water, he is going in swim- 
ming; but if he is running, with his hat and coat off, he 
is either going to drown himself, or some one is drowning, 
and so on. This is the old way. Mine is this: If I see 
a person, I know it, and, if I feel the cold, I know it ; but 
to see a person going towards the water is no sign that I 
know what he is going to do. . . . 

** Now, like the latter [the old practitioners], do not 
deceive your patients. Try to instruct them and correct 
their errors. Use all the wisdom you have, and expose 
the hypocrisy of the profession in any one. Never de- 
ceive your patients behind their backs. Always remem- 
ber that, as you feel about your patients, just so they feel 
towards you. If you deceive them, they lose confidence 
in you; and just as you prove yourself superior to them, 
they give you credit mentally. If you pursue this course, 
you cannot help succeeding. 

'* Be charitable to the poor. Keep the health of your 
patient in view, and, if money comes, all well; but do 
not let that get the lead. With all this advice, I leave 
you to your fate, trusting that the true Wisdom will guide 
you, — not in the path of your predecessors. 

''P. P. Q." 

It was thus characteristic of Mr. Quimby to sink 
the man or personal self in his work, or that larger 
Self or Wisdom whence he derived his power ; and 
whatever he urged upon another he always prac- 
tised himself. Throughout his writings this same 
humility is uppermost ; and whatever he wrote and 
said had a wonderful staying power, since it bore 
the emphasis of his own stimulating and kindly 

Personal Testimony 63 

After the lapse of twenty-nine years since Mr. 
Quimby passed away/ the most and the best I can 
say of his teaching and the power of his example is 
that his theory has stood the severest tests of trouble 
and sickness in my own family as well as in many 
others, while his example has been an ever-present 
ideal. With him his theory was a life, a larger and 
nobler, a freer and wiser, life than that of the aver- 
age man. To know the inexpressible depth and 
value of his teaching, one must live this life, and 
prove through long experience the truth of his phi- 
losophy. That his teaching has never failed in its 
application, and has been more than a substitute for 
all that it displaced, is at once the best evidence of 
its truth and the strongest argument in its favour. 

^ This was written by A. G. Dresser in 1895. 



" I AM often asked what I call my cures. I answer: 
1 The effect of a science, because I know how I 
do them. If I did not know, they would be a mys- 
tery to the world and myself." Thus, confidently 
expressing his faith in his discoveries, Mr. Quimby 
strikes the key-note of all his teaching. Aside from 
the desire to do immediate good to humanity, his 
underlying interest was in the development of "the 
science of life and happiness," as he usually called 
it.' In other passages in his writings, he speaks of 
his theory as "the science of health," for he main- 
tained that the principles implied in his method of 
mental treatment were reducible to a science. Sci- 
ence is, of course, univeral. It is not dependent 
on revelations, books, or persons; nor can it be 
established in the face of facts. Mr. Quimby 
founded his own "science" on the study of facts, 
and had he been scientifically trained, in the modem 
sense of the term, he would have brought to bear 
the tests of the scientific method. But amidst 

' In two instances he uses the term " Christian Science/' meaning 
by this expression an actual, verifiable, disinterested science founded 
on the principles which Jesus' cures exemplified, not a doctrine 
founded on negations. 


Mind and Disease 65 

much that is crude and of the nature of pioneer 
work one detects the same spirit which inspires the 
inductive scientist. The genuine ideal was before 
him, and he made such headway as time and his own 
facilities permitted. 

His first desire was to carry his investigations far 
enough so that some one else would take up the 
work, and develop his teachings as the basis of a 
new and more practical science. He hiad penetrated 
far enough into the meaning and mystery of life to 
grasp certain great laws and principles with mathe- 
matical clearness.' He saw that these laws were 
universal, that they did not depend on the opinions 
and learning of men for their support, but that, 
deep within every human soul, there was a source 
of guidance and inspiration which all could learn to 
know, even the simplest and least educated ; for it 
was common to all. He also believed that, on the 
basis of his discoveries, *' goodness" would some 
time be taught as a "science." By the term 
^'science" as here used he meant something more 
than the art of moral life. He included under this 
head the spiritual or religious life, the expression of 
a higher wisdom than that of every-day thinking 
and religious belief. 

Accordingly, he sought to make clear the distinc- 
tion between the ever-changing opinions of the 

* Portions of what follows were originally prepared as the writer's 
contribution to The Philosophy of P, P. Quimby, This exposition 
of the Quimby philosophy is based on a study of his manuscripts 
and on the account of his cures givan by his followers. 

66 Health and the Inner Life 

world, the beliefs and inherited ideas of the natural 
man, and the unvarying wisdom of the inner or 
truly "scientific" man. He often spoke of these 
two elements of knowledge as two kingdoms, one 
of this world, or opinions, errors, and beliefs; the 
other not of this world, but an unchanging realm of 
truth, goodness, and eternal life. All that he wrote 
was permeated with this distinction between the two 
worlds, which he called ** science" and "ignorance," 
wisdom and opinions, the real man and the natural 
man, Jesus and Christ; for he always distinguished 
between the individual self and that Christ or Wis- 
dom in man which, so far as he possesses it, unites 
man with God. 

His long-continued study of the human mind led 
him to emphasise the fact that man possesses a dual 
nature. Man himself is often a mere tool in the 
hands of others, to be moved here and there at the 
mercy of minds stronger than his own. But every 
man is in relation with this higher Wisdom ; and, 
consciously or unconsciously, every man partakes 
of these two kingdoms of science and ignorance, and 
his happiness or misery depends on which one is 
uppermost. Therefore it is of the highest import- 
ance that man should understand himself, should 
know his real relations to society, how he is influ- 
enced and how to overcome the subtle influences by 
which he is surrounded ; and to possess this know- 
ledge is to understand this science which separates 
truth from error. To know the one self or king- 
dom from the other, to obey and develop the real 

Mind and Disease 67 

or spiritual self and overcome the self of opinions, 
is not only to possess, but to live "the science of 
life and happiness." Health and happiness will 
come in proportion as this truth is made concrete 
in daily life. 

But to know one's self in terms of Mr. Quimby's 
philosophy is no slight task. With him this one 
word, "science," embraced the fruits of twenty 
years' experience and much that was incommuni- 
cable to those who had not experienced it. It is 
difficult to make clear and to do justice to a line of 
thought which depended so much on the originality 
and personal experience of its author. Hence it is 
important to bear in mind the essential points in the 
preceding accounts of his life and discoveries. 

I. Mr. Quimby's first discovery was in regard to 
the influence of opinions and beliefs. He found his 
patients in a position similar to that in which human 
beings were placed at the dawn of civilisation, when 
natural phenomena, which now receive a scientific 
interpretation, were attributed to beings and shapes 
each of which had a separate office to perform. 
That is, people were suffering from a superstitious 
interpretation of what actually existed, but mis- 
understood. They were allured by false theories 
and exciting stories, and by blind leaders. They 
had been deceived, they had felt some slight pain, 
and in their fear had consulted a doctor, who had 
made a diagnosis which was of no value, described 
the symptoms, and named the sensation. Or they 
had become wrought up over some religious belief. 

68 Health and the Inner Life 

and in their despair had become a prey to fancies 
and fears. It. was his task to undeceive them, to 
explain the phenomena and the sensations correctly, 
to show the absurdity of their superstitious beliefs, 
and to explain how, with the doctor's help, they 
had created their disease out of some slight disturb- 
ance which in itself amounted to nothing. When 
Mr. Quimby called disease an "error" he therefore 
referred to the misinterpretation put upon sensation. 

Mr. Quimby did not make his explanations by 
denying the reality of the patient's trouble or at- 
tributing it to the imagination. He made no such 
denials, but frankly admitted the existence of cer- 
tain conditions which, to the sick person, were as 
real as life itself. But just as he sought the Wisdom 
above the world of opinion, and the Life beneath 
the realm of matter, so he looked for the prime cause 
of disease and suffering of all kinds in the mind 
which was conscious of it. This he found, like the 
superstitious beliefs of prehistoric man, in the mis- 
understanding of that which was an actual existence. 
His own effort in every case was to understand the 
actual situation, and to separate and free the mind 
from the fears, wrong beliefs, and feelings which 
had held the sufferer in bondage. 

In one of his articles written to show the effect of 
these false interpretations and beliefs, Mr. Quimby 
uses the following illustration : 

*' When sitting by a sick person who had a pain in the 
left side, which I felt and described, I said, * You think 

Mind and Disease 69 

you have consumption.* The patient acknowledged it, 
saying that her physician had examined her lungs, and 
found the left one very much affected. This she be- 
lieved; and when I told her that her disease was in her 
mind it was as much as to say that she imagined what 
was not the case. I told her she did not understand 
what I meant by the mind. 

** Then, taking up a glass of water, I said: * Suppose 
you should be told that this water contained a poisonous 
substance that works in the system and sometimes pro- 
duces consumption. If you really believe it, every time 
you drink the idea of poison enters your mind. Pre- 
sently you begin to hack and cough a little. Would your 
fears then grow less that the water was poison? I think 

** * Finally, you are given over by your doctor and 
friends, and call on me. I sit down by you, and tell 
you that you are nervous, and have been deceived by 
your doctor and friends. You ask. How? You have 
been told what is false ; that the water you drink contains 
a slow poison, and now your cure hangs on the testimony 
in the case. If I show that there is no poison in the 
water, then the water did not poison you. What did? 
It was the doctor's opinion put in the water by your 
mind. As the mind is [spiritual] matter, or something 
that can receive an impression, it can be changed. This 
change was wrought by the doctor's opinion.' " 

Many of the articles on this subject, written to 
expose the fallacy of the prevailing ideas about dis- 
ease, read like trials in court. Mr. Quimby himself 
appears as the judge, pleading the cause of the sick 

70 Health and the Inner Life 

and showing the absurdity of the arguments where- 
by his patients were condemned to a life of suffer- 
ing. He introduces both the minister and doctor, 
oftentimes the mother or some friend, allowing each 
one to speak freely in regard to the sufferer; and 
the case is often argued at great length. 

Mr. Quimby was always fair in conducting such a 
case. His facts were drawn directly from the lives 
of the sick, — from what the doctors and friends had 
said about the case, — and were often written imme- 
diately after performing the cure which the article 
described. But he exposed the fallacies of the 
Church and of the so-called medical science of his 
day with an unsparing hand. He does not hesitate 
to call the minister and doctor "blind guides leading 
the blind" ; and, while he has no personal feeling 
against them, he combats the errors and opinions by 
which they have held the sick in bondage with a 
determination to destroy every vestige of their false 
teachings.* He is most eloquent at times as he 
shows how the sick have been held in disease and 
superstition, when a simple explanation would have 
turned their thoughts and feelings into another 
channel and set them free. It is safe to say that 
never before or since has the cause of the sick been 
pleaded with such vigour, such power of conviction, 
as in these writings. 

He placed no intelligence or strength in matter, 

* The reference is, of course, to the old-school physician and to 
the Calvinistic theologian. Mr. Quimby*s articles were written 

Mind and Disease 71 

and did not regard the bodily condition alone as the 
disease. "The world," he said, "puts disease in 
the phenomenon, and guesses at the cause." The 
physician's opinion is put together from observation 
and questioning; therefore, "he is a doctor only in 
name." But "to cure an error intelligently is to 
know how to produce it, to know the real cause; 
and this embraces all man's ideas and wisdom." 

This knowledge of the real cause Mr. Quimby 
possessed, and he found it, not alone in the con- 
scious mind and the opinions and beliefs about dis- 
ease, but in the mental influences and thoughts by 
which every person is surrounded, and in the sub- 
conscious mind ; and he could tell an idea or cause 
from the sensation produced by it, "just as a person 
knows an orange by the odour." 

2. But how, the reader will ask, can fears, uncon- 
scious mental influences, doctors' opinions, and 
false interpretations of sensation be so influential in 
the creation of disease? It is, indeed, a mystery to 
those who for the first time hear the theory of the 
mental origin of disease expounded to know how 
there can be any connection between mind and 
disease. For they were not conscious of having 
thought themselves into disease. In fact, they 
consciously, eagerly desired health. Moreover, it 
is plain enough, so they argue, that disease is phys- 
ical. The mind may have something to do with 
the healing of disease. But how could thought 
actually give rise to physical disturbance? It is ab- 
surd to say that one simply imagines one's illness. 

72 Health and the Inner Life 

Disease is very real, and imagination alone is ex- 
ceedingly light and airy in comparison with it. 

Obviously, the critic is largely correct in all these 
judgments. No rational upholder of the mental- 
healing theory believes that disease is due to the im- 
agination. Nor was it maintained by Mr. Quimby 
that people consciously think themselves into ill- 
health. It would be equally absurd to deny that 
disease is partly physical. To deny the physiological 
conditions of disease would be to adopt an artificial 
way of thinking. The mental theory must win its 
way by admitting all the facts, or not at all. Ra- 
tional mind cure thrives, not by denial but by 
understanding ; it urges both the sick and the 
therapeutist to make sure that all the facts are 
taken into account. To understand the deeper 
facts is to see that there is a more intelligible way 
of escape from disease than by mere reliance upon 
medical methods. Hence one must really under- 
stand the more rational mental theory before pass- 
ing judgment upon it; and the way to understand 
it is to test it in actual practice. 

The mystery in regard to the connection between 
mind and matter begins to be cleared up when one 
discovers that mental activity is not limited to the 
highly conscious life, but is intimately connected 
with the vast realm of subconscious life. In this 
deeper, more or less hidden part of our nature there 
is undoubtedly a close relation with the region 
which the investigators of the Society for Psychical 
Research denominate the ** subliminal." Hence 

Mind and Disease 73 

the subconscious life is to be taken account of in 
telepathic and similar psychic experiences. It is 
also bound up with the organic life of the body, so 
that all actions known by physiologists as "auto- 
matic," as exemplifying "unconscious cerebration," 
come under this head. In short, our whole life is 
at any given moment subconscious except so far as 
certain feelings and thoughts arise from the sub- 
liminal realm into explicit consciousness. One 
cannot define the subconscious world except by in- 
ference, that is, in the light of that which develops 
out of it. But it is clear that it includes our organic 
life as surely as it partakes of psychic experiences. 
One cannot tell how far the organic life enters into 
the psychic experiences, since it is only the con- 
scious resultants that are known. But, indefinite 
as our knowledge may be, it is clear that the notion 
of subconsciousness is a necessary factor in our 

Such mental states as the reader's present con- 
centration of attention on the subject now before 
us are typical of consciousness at its highest point. 
Besides these more acute mental states the reader is 
partially aware of varied perceptions of light, sound, 
heat, or cold, certain organic activities, and the re- 
sistance oflFered by the most immediate physical 
surroundings. Disturbing mental states occasionally 
break into the reader's chosen line of thought, and 
the mind wanders oflF now and then, either away 
from the subject entirely or in search of corrobora- 
tive and conflicting facts of experience. Each of 

74 Health and the Inner Life 

these remembered experiences, long cherished in 
the great storehouse of the subconscious world, re- 
presents a more or less conscious relation to that 
world. When a judgment appeals to the mind as 
correct, consciousness forthwith seizes more actively 
upon it and thereby gives a dynamic tendency to 
the subconscious after-effects. Just as like thoughts 
aggregate to form positive conscious beliefs, so the 
tendency of subconsciousness is undoubtedly to in- 
crease a mental state which the will has thus dynam- 
ically defined. But our more voluntary thinking 
is probably typical of our semi-conscious impulsive 
life. Any mental state that for the time being 
commands attention is likely to influence one's 
subconscious functioning. The fact that a train of 
thought plays havoc does not mean that the mind 
has intelligently chosen it. The prognostications 
and forebodings which we half-thoughtlessly permit 
ourselves to dwell upon may be as subconsciously 
potent as the most wisely chosen ideals. It is 
probably the power that is upon the occasion 
exerted, not the quality of the thought, that is 
subconsciously effective. There seems to be no 
evidence that subconsciousness discriminates ; it 
takes its clue from whatever absorbs the mind. A 
fear may, therefore, be as readily developed subcon- 
sciously as may an inspiration. Out from the deeper 
part of us our ideas are all the time emerging more 
potent than they entered it. New habits of thought 
and conduct are all the time being formed in this 
way. If the results are now desirable and now un- 

Mind and Disease 75 

desirable, no one may rightly blame subconscious- 
ness. Only by carefully guarding all one's thinking, 
and all one's feelings as well, may one hope to 
eliminate the undesirable. No one could ask for a 
better illustration of subconscious functioning than 
the growth of an exceedingly troublesome morbid 
or painful mental state out of a comparatively in- 
significant sensation of pain which the mind was 
foolishly allowed to harbour. 

3. Now, Mr. Quimby applied to this intermediate 
region between mind and matter, conscious and 
subconscious life, the curious term "spiritual mat- 
ter," an expression which seems exceedingly ob- 
scure at first, but which is in reality a convenient 
figure of speech. For, according to his perception 
of the subconscious activities of a patient, Mr. 
Quimby learned that the mind in its assimilative 
state is rather like substance, fertile and responsive 
to energy impressed upon it, than like conscious 
processes in general. By the statement, **mind is 
matter," which he frequently uses in his articles on 
disease, Mr. Quimby did not mean that materialism 
is true, for he held an idealistic theory of matter ; 
but that thoughts take definite shape like seeds and 
germinate in the favourable soil of our deeper life. 
Thoughts were still of a "spiritual" character, yet 
through their germinal activity they gave shape to 
the substance of the body. Mr. Quimby's keen 
insight revealed many processes in the life of suffer- 
ing humanity which were subconscious to the suf- 
ferers. Hence he proposed a theory to fit the facts, 

76 Health and the Inner Life 

a theory which was intended to explain the deeper 
conditions of disease, not the obvious conditions or 
eflfects of the inner states. When, therefore, he 
spoke of disease as an "error," as due to ''false 
reasoning," he had in mind the entire subconscious 
train of sequences which I have mentioned above. 
Obviously, the entire theory in question is put in a 
different light if one understands that it is the inter- 
mediate region between the mental and the physical 
that is to be taken into account. The superficial 
conclusions which people draw when told that dis- 
ease is mentally originated show that they have not 
yet caught the drift of the new theory. To see the 
deeper drift of investigation is to begin to under- 
stand what Mr. Quimby meant when he said that it 
was possible to erect a "new science of life" on 
these discoveries. 

4. In one of his articles on disease Mr. Quimby 
says: "Man, in his natural state, was no more liable 
to disease than the beast, but as soon as he began 
to reason he became diseased ; for his disease was in 
his reason. " Mr. Quimby attributed no intelligence 
to the "spiritual matter " which receives the false 
ideas concerning disease. The man who, feeling a 
painful sensation, consults a physician, and hears a 
description of the symptoms he is likely to suffer, 
involuntarily enters into the description given by 
the doctor. He has been born with the belief that 
disease is an "entity independent of man," which 
can seize him regardless of his belief. He has been 
taught that he must not eat this or that, must not 

Mind and Disease 11 

go here or go there, lest he "catch" some disease, 
and has lived all his life — unconsciously to himself 
— subject to these erroneous beliefs. The physi- 
cian, instead of wisely turning the person's thought 
into another and healthier direction, — ^away from all 
thought of disease, — makes a physical diagnosis, 
says he thinks the person has this or that trouble, 
tells how people feel with that disease, and what 
the result is likely to be, and proceeds to doctor the 
effect, ignoring the real cause or disease completely. 

Those who know much about the medical prac- 
tice of to-day know that the same thing is going on 
now, the only difference being that the fashions, 
names, and theories have changed ; and we now hear 
more about germs and bacteria, to which the same 
harmful opinions are attached. With all the ad- 
vance in medical science since Mr. Quimby's time — 
and even he would not have denied that there are 
many good doctors — ^many physicians will give one 
opinion about a case one day, and another the next, 
while another doctor would express an opinion 
differing from both. 

All this Mr. Quimby understood, and he could 
hardly restrain himself when he thought of the 
misery that was brought upon enslaved humanity 
by such false methods ; for his investigations taught 
him that these descriptions and opinions, if accepted 
as true, acted like poison on the sufferer's mind. 

"Spiritual matter," then, is a subtle, ethereal 
substance, wonderfully impressionable or respon- 
sive, on which these opinions, together with the 

78 Health and the Inner Life 

person's fears and beliefs in disease, are impressed or 
*'daguerreotyped/' where they take form, become 
more and more deeply rooted, until finally they 
become all-absorbing. Thus ** whatever we believe, 
that we create"; for man is controlled primarily, 
not by physical states, but by his directions of 

Every thought was also in a sense ** spiritual mat- 
ter," but of a different combination from the mind 
in which it was sown like a seed. "Every idea," 
he says, "is the embodiment of an opinion resolved 
into an idea. This idea has life, or a chemical 
change; for it is the offspring of man's wisdom con- 
densed into an idea, and our senses * are attached to 
it." Its power over us depends on the reliance we 
place upon it ; and, if it comes from one whose word 
we trust, it is likely to master us, and finally to as- 
sume a character which makes it as real as life itself. 
And the reason is found in the existence of this 
ever-changing mind or ''spiritual earth" in which 
ideas germinate or take form. 

5. In the light of the foregoing explanation, a 
quotation like the following from a manuscript, 
dated August, 1861, is at once clear: 

"After I found that mind was [spiritual] matter, I 
found that ideas were matter condensed into a solid 
called disease, and that this, like a book, contained all 
the wisdom of its author. Seeing the book, — for sight 
with Wisdom embraces all the senses, — I open it and see 

' That is, our consciousness is absorbed in it 

Mind and Disease 79 

through it. To the patient it is a sealed book; but to 
Wisdom there is nothing hid which cannot be revealed 
or seen, nor so far off that it cannot be reached. So I 
read the contents of the book to the patient, and show 
that it is false. Then, as the truth changes his mind, 
light takes the place of the darkness, till he sees through 
the error of disease. The light of Wisdom dissipates 
the matter, or disease, the patient once more finds him- 
self freed of opinions, and happiness is restored." 

The following is from an article dated December, 

** Man is made of opinions, — of truth and error; and 
his life is a warfare like all other lives before him. . . . 
Man goes on developing error upon error till he is buried 
in his own belief; and it makes him but little higher 
than the animal kingdom. It is the office of Wisdom to 
explain the phenomena in man called disease, to show 
how it is made, and how it can be unmade. This is as 
much a science as it is to know how to decompose a 
piece of metal. * * 

In an article in which Mr. Quimby undertakes to 
set forth his peculiar theory he says : 

** I will now try to establish this science or rock, and 
upon it I will build the science of life. My foundation 
is animal matter, or life. This, set in action by Wis- 
dom, produces thought. Thoughts, like grains of sand, 
are held together by their own sympathy, wisdom, or 
attraction. Now, [the natural] man is composed of 
these particles of matter, or thought, combined and 

8o Health and the Inner Life 

arranged by Wisdom. As thought is always changing, 
so [the natural] man is always throwing off particles of 
thought and receiving others. Thus man is a progressive 
idea [being]; yet he is the same man, although he is 
changing all the time for better or worse. As his senses 
are in his wisdom and his wisdom is attached to his 
. . . body, his change of mind is under one of the 
two directions — either of this world of opinions or of 
God, or science ; and his happiness or misery is the re- 
sult of his wisdom. 

** Now, as the idea man ' has always been under the 
wisdom of this world, the scientific man has always been 
kept down, from the fact that no man has ever risen to 
that state where the scientific man could control the wis- 
dom of the natural man. This has always caused man 
to be at war with himself. These two powers compose 
him, and the science [of life and happiness] lies in keep- 
ing the natural man in subjection to the scientific man. 
In this warfare, if the natural man rules, disease and 
unhappiness is the fate of the scientific man. If the 
latter rules, life and happiness is the reward. 

" Now, I stand alone on this rock, fighting the errors 
of this world, and establish the science of life by my 
works. What is my mode of warfare? With the axe of 
truth I strike at the root of every tree or error and hew it 
down, so that there shall not be one error in man show- 
ing itself in the form of disease. My knowledge is not 
matter or opinions. It decomposes the thoughts, changes 
the combinations, and produces an idea clear from the 
error that makes a person unhappy or diseased." * 

' That is, the natural, changeable man. Mr. Quimby applied the 
term '* scientific" to the spiritual man or permanent ** identity." 
' March, 1861. 

Mind and Disease 8i 

In another article, written in 1861, Mn Quimby 

" My object is the good of mankind, independent of 
all religious sects and creeds. It is a philosophy which, 
if understood, will make men free and independent of 
all creeds and laws of man, and subject him to his own 
agreement, he being free from the laws of sin, sickness, 
and death/' 

"Every one is made of matter,* and matter is con- 
tinually going through a chemical change. This change 
is life, not wisdom, but is vegetable or mineral life. 
Every idea is matter, so of course it contains life in the 
name of something that can be changed. Motion, or 
change, is life. Ideas have life. A belief has life, or 
matter; for it can be changed. Now, all the aforesaid 
make up [the natural] man ; and all this can be 

6. Bearing in mind the exceedingly figurative 
language of Mr. Quimby's manuscripts, we are now 
prepared to understand what he meant by the fol- 
lowing paragraphs selected from various articles on 
disease : 

" It may seem strange to those in health that our be- 
liefs affect us. The fact is, there is nothing of us but 
belief. It is the whole capital and stock in trade 
of [the natural] man. It is all that can be changed, 
and embraces everything man has made or ever will 
make. . . . 

" People never seem to have thought of the fact that 

' That is, the natnral man is changeable, subject to opinions. 

82 Health and the Inner Life 

they are responsible to themselves for their belief. To 
analyse their belief is to know themselves, which is the 
greatest study of man. . . . 

"There is one thing that man is ignorant of. It is 
this: that he is a sufferer from his own belief, not know- 
ingly, but by his own consent. Not being intelligent 
enough to judge of cause and effect, he becomes the 
victim of his own free will. . . . When a person 
tells you anything which you cannot understand, you 
are not bound to believe it unless you please; but, if 
you do, you convict yourself of a crime which you have 
acknowledged right. Our belief cannot alter a scientific 
truth, but it may alter our feelings for happiness or 
misery. Disease is the misery of our belief, happiness 
is the health of our wisdom, so that man's happiness or 
misery depends on himself. Now, as our misery comes 
from our belief, and not from the thing believed, it is 
necessary to be on the watch, so as not to be deceived by 
false guides. Sensation contains no intelligence or be- 
lief, but is a mere disturbance of the matter called agita- 
tion, which produces mind,* and is ready to receive the 
seed of error. Ever since man was created, there has 
been an element called error which has been busy in- 
venting answers for every sensation. . . ." 

* * What is disease ? This question involves much 
speculative reasoning. Some suppose that disease is 
something independent of man, some think it is a pun- 
ishment from God for the wrongs of our first parents, 
others that it comes from disobeying the laws of God. 
Now let us analyse all the above, and see if there is any 
truth in these statements. If there was not a living thing 

^ That is, it produces an effect on mind. 

Mind and Disease 83 

on earth, there could not be any disease, or, otherwise, 
disease must have had an existence before man was 
created; and, if so, God created it for some purpose. 
According to man's reasoning, disease is his enemy; and 
if God created an enemy to destroy man, then God can- 
not be man's friend, as is thought. Thus the idea that 
a benevolent God had anything to do with disease is 
superstition. Then the question comes up again, Where 
does it come from? I answer. It does not come: it is 
created, not by God, but by man. . . . 

* * Disease is false reasoning. True scientific wisdom 
is health and happiness. False reasoning is sickness 
and death. On these two modes of reasoning hang all 
our happiness and misery. The question is, How can 
we know how to separate the one from the other? The 
truth cannot be changed: the false is always changing. 
The one is science: the other is error, and our senses 
are attached to the one or the other. One is the natural 
development of [spiritual] matter, or mind; and disease 
is one of the natural inventions of error. To show how 
disease is not what it is supposed to be by those whp use 
the word, I must show the absurdity of error's reasoning; 
for error is the father of disease. We are all taught by 
this error to call disease something that is independent 
of man. 

** To make it more plain and show where the two modes 
of reasoning act, I will suppose a case, and take that of 
a young man who, feeling a little disturbed, calls on a 
physician. The physician sounds his lungs, examines his 
heart, and tells the patient he is very liable to have the 
heart disease. The patient asks him how he got it, and 
is told that he is liable to catch disease and have it; for 
it is not a part of him, and to get it or have it or catch 

84 Health and the Inner Life 

it is to admit that it exists independent of himself, and, 
though the patient be dead, yet it would exist the same, 
and others would be liable to get it. 

**At last the patient really has the heart disease which 
his physician described to him. Now, has he created it 
himself, or has the doctor created it for him? I propose 
to show that he has made what the world calls heart 
disease himself, without any one's help. To show how 
a building is raised is to frame one, and then take it 
down again. So I will take down this building, heart 
disease, which this man has raised ; and then he can see 
how ideas are made or raised. I will say to the patient, 
You have built the disease yourself in your sleep or 
ignorance. This he cannot understand. So I tell him 
how he has worked in his sleep,* and made the very 
edifice, heart disease, that he has got. I begin to tell 
him his dream by telling how he feels, in which he ad- 
mits I am correct. 

** Now, when he was asleep or ignorant of the feelings 
that disturb him, behold, a spirit in the form of a doctor 
sat by him; and, lo! and behold, he called up from the 
dead a person with the heart disease, as he called it. 
And he handled you ; and your sleep departed from you, 
your limbs became cold and clammy, and your pulse 
quickened. This excited your brain, and at last a figure 
of a person arose like unto the one you saw in your 
dream. Then you were afraid, and you awoke in your 
fright. At last the image became more terrible, till at 
length it overshadowed you and became a part of your- 
self, so that, when you awoke, you looked, and, lo! and 
behold, the dream had become reality, and you had the 

' That is, the disease has been developed subconsciously. 

Mind and Disease 85 

heart disease. Now whose was it, the doctor's or 
yours ? Did you catch the doctor's, or did you create it 
yourself by your own reasoning in your sleep or ignorance, 
according to the pattern set you by the doctor? I say, 
you made it yourself. 

* * Now to cure you, or take down the building, is to 
show you that all the feelings that you had at the com- 
mencement arose from a trifling cause, and that, when 
I can make you understand it, I have performed the 
cure. Instead of giving medicine or going to work by 
guess to destroy the building, I commence by showing 
the patient how he framed it by his own hand or wisdom. 
So I reason in this way : You listened to the doctor to 
try to understand what caused the heart disease. He 
explained every variety of feeling or symptom, and you 
listened till you understood it. Now, without knowing 
it, you created in your mind the disease, as much as you 
would if an artist or mechanic had taught you how to 
draught a building, and you would carry in your mind 
the building, and in your sleep you created it. The 
only difference would be that one would please you, for 
it would contain wisdom; while the other would bind 
you, for it would contain fear, and would threaten to 
destroy your life. Your trouble is the material with 
which to build the building or disease. A chemical 
change in the fluids of your system takes place, and you 
condense them into a phenomenon corresponding with 
your draught. The fluids become diseased, and your 
ingenuity in manufacturing the disease has been the de- 
struction of your happiness. To destroy the disease, I 
convince you that what the doctor said was an idea got- 
ten up by error, not knowing how to account for some 
little disturbance which in itself amounted to nothing. 

86 Health and the Inner Life 

But by the doctor's mode of reasoning about what he 
knew nothing, you were led astray into the darkness 
of heathen superstition where all kinds of evil spirits 
and diseases dwell in the brain of man. Superstition 
always shows itself through the ignorance of man's 
reasoning, assuming as many names and forms as the 
father of all lies, the devil, or the error of mankind. * ' ' 

Mr. Quimby understood so clearly that man's 
happiness and misery depend on his ** belief," that 
he could penetrate to the centre of a patient's 
trouble without fear. Knowing that in part the 
mind is ''matter" and can be changed, and also 
knowing that he possessed a ** Wisdom" which 
could not change, he was master of the situation, 
and could clearly separate all that was eternal in 
man from the changing beliefs of fear and ignorance. 

Without asking any questions of the patient, he 
would discover intuitively how the person had been 
deceived, and by giving the true explanation would 
produce a change in the "spiritual matter," or mind. 
As the foregoing quotations show, he described the 
sick person as one in prison, held in ignorance or 
darkness, like the rosebud trying to come forth to 
the light ; and it was his mission to enter these dark 
prisons of ignorance and superstition, quicken the 
intelligence of his patient, and set the prisoner free. 

'*The mind," he says in one of his articles, **is 
under the direction of a power independent of itself ; 
and, when the mind or thought is formed into an 
idea, the idea throws off an odour: this contains 


Mind and Disease 87 

the cause and effect/* This mental atmosphere, or 
odour emanating from the spiritual matter, was 
sufficient to tell Mr. Quimby all he wished to know 
about the patient's trouble; and, when he had dis- 
covered the hidden cause, a short audible explana- 
tion was often all that was necessary to produce 
a marked effect. 

For instance, he told one young man, who was a 
very strong Calvinist Baptist, that his religion was 
killing him ; for he saw that the young man was so 
intense in his narrowing belief that he was shutting 
all his energies into one channel, and cramping his 
whole life in an eager effort to realise his spiritual 

But if this changing mind, or ''spiritual matter," 
contains no intelligence, and can be moulded by the 
opinions and fears which cause man's misery, like 
clay in the hands of the potter, there must be some 
abiding principle in man which gives him a perman- 
ent identity. This abiding self Mr. Quimby called 
the **real man," or *' the senses," seldom using the 
word *'soul." 

Here, too, Mr. Quimby's theory was wholly 
original; and this was his most suggestive dis- 
covery. His ability to detect the mental atmos- 
phere or odour emanating from a patient was not 
limited by space ; for he very early discovered that 
he could detect such atmospheres, thoughts, mental 
odours, and feelings at a distance of many miles 
from his patients, and that he could heal them at 
a distance. This led to the discovery that "the 

88 Health and the Inner Life 

senses" could act independently of the body, and 
that the five natural senses, or the occasional me- 
dium of "the spiritual senses/' embraced but a 
small part of man's perceptions: in short, that "the 
senses" are, like light, a universal substance, an at- 
tribute of God, which we use, just as in displaying 
genuine wisdom we partake of the very nature of 
that Wisdom which transcends all definition. We 
therefore turn to a consideration of Mr. Quimby's 
theory of man. 


quimby's theory of man 

MAN, according to Mr. Quimby, possesses spirit- 
ual powers which function independently of 
matter and are capable of hearing, seeing, smelling, 
and communicating thoughts and feelings without 
the aid of physical functions. In fact, man could 
exist with all his faculties, even if the body were 
laid aside: and "his happiness is in knowing that he 
is no part of what is seen by the eye of opinion." 
Life, or the invisible reality, is the real "sub- 
stance"; and man's life embraces all his faculties. 
Many of our perceptions and experiences really take 
place through the activity of this spiritual self, act- 
ing side by side with the natural; for, in the last 
analysis, "the senses [the spiritual self] are all there 
is of a man." 

It is interesting to note that at the present time 
many students of psychic science are reaching this 
same conclusion, in part, which Mr. Quimby reached 
so long ago ; namely, that the facts of clairaudience, 
clairvoyance, telepathy, and the ability to heal men- 
tally at a distance prove the existence of a part of 
us which can live and act independently of matter. 

This "spiritual identity" was to Mr. Quimby the 

90 Health and the Inner Life 

real man or life, who dwelt in the real or ''scien- 
tific*' world, in contrast to the natural identity 
or man of opinions which Wisdom could destroy. 
"All the senses are life,** he said, **not death, and 
their existence does not depend on a body for their 
identity. . . . We cannot teach any one to 
see or taste, smell or know ; but all these faculties 
are independent of matter, and matter is the medium 
for these faculties to act upon." 

He therefore affirmed that "there is no matter in- 
dependent of mind or life.*' While, then, he never 
denied the existence of matter, he sometimes spoke 
of it as an "idea," which, like language, is used to 
convey some meaning to another. A sensation 
coming from matter contains no intelligence, in his 
view, but the intelligence is in us ; and if we put a 
false construction on it we suffer the consequences. 
Whereas, if we possess "the true science of life," 
our interpretation is "scientific, and our happiness 
is in our wisdom." 

He looked upon matter as the condensation or 
embodiment of some idea, on the one hand, giving 
expression to the purpose of the invisible Wisdom, 
or God ; and, on the other, revealing some state in 
the mind of man. He often spoke of man as "mat- 
ter,** meaning, of course, the mind that can be 
changed. But, whenever he considered man from 
the point of view of intelligence, he referred to "the 
senses,'* or the real man, of which matter is merely 
a medium. 

The real man, or "the senses,'* may either be 

Quimby's Theory of Man 9^ 

enslaved by the world's opinions, as in the case of 
disease and false ideas about religion — in which case 
Mr. Quimby sought to free man's consciousness from 
bondage to matter — or '*his senses may be attached" 
to the Wisdom which is superior to matter and opin- 
ion. In any case, wherever the thought or con- 
sciousness is concentrated, there **the senses are 
attached" ; and, if they are free from all slavery to 
opinion, the man is ready to realise "the science of 
life and happiness," to separate the truth from the 
error, and to destroy superstition wherever he finds it. 

Man, to know himself, then, according to Mr. 
Quimby, must push his analysis farther than the 
mere discovery that he leads a life of mind ; and, 
unless one stops to consider what Mr. Quimby 
meant by the word "mind," one is not likely to 
understand his theory of disease. One of Mr. 
Quimby *s followers adopted the term "mortal 
mind" for the changeable part of our mental life; 
but this expression was given a misleading signifi- 
cance, owing to the fact that the Quimby theory 
was not fully understood. Both Mr. Quimby and his 
interpreter saw the need of distinguishing between 
the mutable and the immutable mind. Both saw 
that man lives an essentially mental life. But it 
would be a hasty and ill-considered inference to 
leap to the conclusion, "All is mind, there is no 

Mr. Quimby did not undertake to formulate a 
theory of the natural world in detail. Its prime 
significance for him was that it manifested the 

92 Health and the Inner Life 

goodness and wisdom of God. It was no part of 
God's purpose in our natural existence that man 
should have disease. God does not "send" or "in- 
flict" suffering upon us. Man is ignorant not only 
of God's purpose, but of the character of his natural 
life. Consequently, when pain arises, he attributes 
it to a cause outside of himself, as if he had no- 
thing to do with it. Man is also ignorant of the fact 
that he possesses a dual nature. Therefore he fails 
to distinguish between the self that is a victim of 
ignorance and opinion, and the self that is capable 
of discerning the wisdom of God. 

To discover that opinions, fears, mental pictures, 
descriptions of disease, and emotional states so work 
upon the mind as subconsciously to sow "seeds of 
error" in it was, for Mr. Quimby, to learn that a 
part of man's nature is essentially changeable. This 
discovery was momentous for Mr. Quimby, since so 
much depended for him on the hidden processes of 
our mental life. His use of the term "matter" in 
connection with his account of these processes was 
perhaps unfortunate, for it seemed to imply (i) 
either that mind is really matter, or (2) that "all is 
mind." But to him there was no ambiguity, since 
"spiritual matter" was neither matter nor mind in 
the usual sense of those terms. The true mind was 
intimately related to the omnipresent Wisdom. 
That which man ordinarily deems his true self is 
"the natural man of opinion." The natural mind 
is in part subconscious, hence its deeper processes 
are comparable with the hidden life of vegetation. 

Quimby's Theory of Man 93 

With these processes the entire life of the body is 

With the organic processes of the body Mr. 
Quimby was very little concerned. His attention 
was largely devoted to the phenomena of the inter- 
mediate realm between mind and matter, and the 
hidden influences which cause man's trouble. He 
placed very little stress upon man's conscious part 
in the development of disease and other troubles* 
But he believed if man could be brought to con- 
sciousness of the subtle influences of his mental 
environment a different mode of life would result. 
Hence his teachings tended to the conclusion that 
the whole activity of the inner life can be brought 
within our control. If it is through ignorance of 
what we truly are, and what influences us, that we 
have caused our misery, through right belief and 
right conduct we can become free. To seie that we 
are largely creatures of opinion, belief, creed, dogma, 
is to discover that by proving all things before we 
believe we can become men of wisdom and power. 

Mr. Quimby 's statements were clothed in the lan- 
guage of his own experience, and his criticisms were 
addressed to the people of his own time. But, 
allowing for all peculiarities of speech and the con- 
ditions of forty years ago, his teaching marked out 
the main lines of a permanently profitable inquiry 
into the hidden phases of man's life. Without the 
discovery of the little-known phenomena of men- 
tal influence, his theory and practice would have 
been impossible. Without considerable preliminary 

94 Health and the Inner Life 

acquaintance with corresponding phenomena, his 
theory of mental life and of disease is scarcely in- 
telligible to the present-day inquirer. Allowing for 
differences in terminology, the mental-healing theo- 
ries of his followers have followed essentially the 
same lines. The terms now used are much more 
intelligible, largely owing to the fact that so much 
more is known about the hidden processes on which 
he placed so much stress. It is doubtful, however, 
if any recent devotee of the mental-healing doctrine 
possesses either the keenness of insight or the scien- 
tific interest which guided Mr. Quimby. It is still 
to Mr. Quimby, then, that one turns to discover 
the most profitable lines of investigation. 

Taking their cue from the emphasis put upon the 
power of thought, recent devotees of the mind-cure 
doctrine have tended towards a shallow individual- 
ism. Having learned that man is a victim of opin- 
ions, fears, and beliefs, they contend that he may 
attain his rightful estate by "claiming'' everything 
that is his own. From "claims" in regard to health 
they have passed to affirmations concerning wealth, 
success, and manifold other things. This applica- 
tion of Mr. Quimby 's proposition, "Whatever we 
believe, that we create,*' should not be attributed 
to the parent teacher. According to Mr. Quimby, 
it was the natural man whose life is moulded by 
belief. The moral of Mr. Quimby 's discovery is 
not self-affirmation but the profoundest self-under- 
standing. Man has long tended to circulate about 
his own little collection of beliefs. To free him 

Quimby's Theory of Man 95 

from that bondage, Mr. Quimby directed man's at- 
tention to his true self. Now that true self is not 
mental but spiritual. It is as a son of God that one 
should go forth to practise the new principles, not 
as an agent of mere thought. 

Far more important than the discovery that man 
is susceptible to manifold hidden influences and 
tends to build his own little world of beliefs from 
within, is the fact that man is recipient of a higher 
wisdom and superior power. The discovery of these 
subtle influences enabled Mr. Quimby to explain 
disease to his own satisfaction, but this knowledge 
was not sufficient to produce the remarkable cures 
without which Mr. Quimby would never have been 
heard of. It was the intuition which the study of 
mental phenomena brought to light, the spiritual 
sense, coupled with the power it brought, that made 
the cures possible. That man is spiritual and pos- 
sesses spiritual senses is of far more consequence 
than the proposition that "mind is spiritual mat- 
ter." That the spiritual man can become open to 
and use spiritual power is of more consequence still; 
for that means that man is not to follow his own 
inclinations, but to pursue Wisdom's way. 

Therefore the fundamental consideration for Mr. 
Quimby was the existence of the omnipresent Wis- 
dom, the God of peace and goodness, who created 
man to be sound and sane. The second great 
principle was that of the Christ within, or the prin- 
ciple of divine sonship. Just as Jesus fulfilled the 
Father's will so long ago, so may we co-operate with 

96 Health and the Inner Life 

the Power that is ever with us, but has long been 
despised and rejected. Hence each of us is to dis- 
cover the true God within our own consciousness.* 

Mr. Quimby had little fellowship with the God of 
man's belief. He found that this God differed just 
as man's opinions differ; in short, that he was 
simply "the embodiment of man's belief," and in- 
spired fear, hatred, and anger, and was the source 
of much of the superstition which he had to combat 
in effecting a cure. Penetrating deeper into the 
heart of life, he identified God with the attributes 
of love, wisdom, and peace which lift man from the 
depths of superstition and make him more than 
human. He wrote of God as the first cause, but 
more especially as the immanent life of man, the 
power behind the senses, the love that stirs in the 
hearts of the people, and is ever ready to help those 
who are in need. 

He therefore took no credit to himself for any 
unusual power. He was a most unassuming man. 
The element of self and self-esteem is wholly lacking 
in his writings, as it was in his life and his practice. 
Instead, there is this larger self, this Wisdom which 
belongs to all, as it was most surely a vital factor in 
all that he wrote and did. He stood for certain 
great principles, and sought the truth without re- 
gard to personal inclinations, letting its light shine 
through him and through his words — an evidence 
alike of its power and of its high origin. 

' See the exposition of this doctrine by W. F. Evans, The Divine 
Law of CurCy p. 79. 

Quimby's Theory of Man 97 

So convinced was he that the same power which 
he used with such effect was latent in all minds that 
he believed every man could become his own physi- 
cian, and apply **the science of life" in the cure of 
disease. He prophesied that the time would come 
''when men and women should heal all manner of 
diseases by the word of their mouth." He thor- 
oughly believed that all disease could be overcome, 
since "it was the product of ignorance and super- 
stition, and never had any foundation except in 

He testified of himself that he *'had passed from 
death unto life," for he spoke of his "science" as 
eternal life, comparing it to the truth taught by 
Jesus. He declared that the fear of death was also 
an enemy or opinion which held man in bondage. 
Not only believing, but understanding, that man 
had an "identity independent of matter" which 
made him a part of the eternal life, he looked upon 
human life as continuous. He said he could con- 
ceive of no beginning and no ending, and looked 
upon death as a change only, which did not affect 
the real man, or the soul. 

In an article dated March, 1861, Mr. Quimby 

" Man is always dying and living in progression; for 

error, or opinion, must always be in the mind, and mind 

must always exist till time is no more. Man is made of 

science and ignorance, or life and death. Man, seen 

by the senses, is the centre of our belief; and the senses 

are attached to the idea called man. So the idea man 

9^ Health and the Inner Life 

varies as much as one star differs from another. No 
two men or ideas are alike. . . . Man lives all his 
life subject to death, so that to destroy one idea called 
death he is liable to die again and again to the end of 
time, unless his wisdom destroys death by the science 
of life. The last enemy to science is death, so the 
scientific man, or idea, shall reign till all error is 
destroyed. . . . 

'* Man's life is a life of progression governed by science 
or error, and to know what makes happiness is to know 
what makes misery. The science of life is to know how 
to keep man from getting into death, or error. This is 
my theory: to put man in possession of a science that 
will destroy the ideas of the sick, and teach man one 
living progression of his own identity, with life free from 
error and disease. As man passes through these com- 
binations, they differ one from another. . . . He is 
dying and living all the time to error, till he dies the 
death of all his opinions or beliefs. Therefore, to be 
free from death is to be alive in truth ; for sin, or error, 
is death, and science, or wisdom, is eternal life, and this 
is the Christ." 

In an article on the senses, Mr. Quimby explains 
his theory that man's true senses are "spiritual," 
and potentially free from the body. He says, in 

** I have spoken of the senses as something that can 
exist independent of our natural body. This is new to 
the world, or it has never been admitted ; for the senses 
are attached to and a part of the body, and the idea of 
their being separated is something that has not dawned 

Quimby's Theory of Man 99 

on the intelligence of the world. It may be a belief 
among some persons, but it is not admitted among the 
scientific. To have a knowledge of this science is to 
know when an impression is produced on the senses. 

"The senses contain no knowledge of themselves. 
When a sensation is produced on them, if the soul, or 
identity, is aware of it and knows its true meaning, it 
does not produce the same sensation as though the soul 
were ignorant of the true meaning. ... I believe 
matter to be nothing but an idea belonging to the 

**. . . The senses of themselves do not embrace 
any idea of good or bad, but are simply the act of see- 
ing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and feeling. All these 
are independent of knowledge, for the beast and child 
contain them. Mesmerism proves the life of all of them 
independent of the body.* So I set them down as senses, 
not matter, or mind, but life, or the medium of the 
soul. . . ." 

In another article on the senses, Mr. Quimby 

**Are our senses mind? I answer. No. . . . Mind 
and senses are as distinct as light and darkness ; and the 
same distinction holds good in wisdom and knowledge, 
Jesus and Christ. Christ, wisdom, and [spiritual] senses 
are synonymous. So likewise are Jesus, knowledge, and 
mind. Our life is in our senses; and, if our wisdom is 
in our mind, then we attach our life, wisdom, senses, 
etc., to matter. But, if our wisdom is attached to 

' That is, matter is a means of expression for the soul. 
'Mr. Quimby refers to experiences like those attributed to his 
subject, Lucius, in the account given in the foregoing chapters. 

loo Health and the Inner Life 

science [or that which is spiritual], then our life and 
senses are in God, and not in matter; for there is no 
matter in God, or wisdom, but matter is the medium of 
wisdom. ... 

**. . . The idea [disease] is matter; and it de- 
composes, and throws off an odour that contains all the 
ideas of the person affected. This is true of every idea 
or thought. Now, my odour" comes in contact with 
this odour; . . . and I, being well, have found out 
by twenty years* experience that these odours affect me, 
and also that they contain the very identity of the patient 
whom this odour surrounds. This called my attention 
to it; and I found that it was as easy to tell the feelings 
or thoughts of a person sick as to detect the odour of 
spirits from that of tobacco. I at first thought I inhaled 
it, but at last found that my [spiritual] senses could be 
affected by it when my body was at a distance of many 
miles from the patient. This led to a new discovery; 
and I found my senses were not in my body, but that 
my body was in my senses. My knowledge located my 
senses just according to my wisdom. If a man's know- 
ledge is in matter, all there is of him [to him] is con- 
tained in matter. But, if his knowledge is in wisdom, 
then his senses and all there is of him are out of matter." 

The following quotations are taken from a number 
of manuscripts on ''Man," "Wisdom," and ''The 

"As man knows himself, he learns that all he is is life. 
His senses are in his life. Opinions are mind, subject 

' That is, Mr. Quimby intuitively discerns the inner state of the 
individual, both mental and physicaL 

Quimby's Theory of Man loi 

to his life. His life embraces all his faculties, and his 
happiness is in knowing that he is no part of what is seen 
by the eye of opinion. . . . All that is seen by the 
natural man is mind reduced to a state called matter.* 
. . . Man is just as large as he is wise in science. 
. . . When man speaks of himself as a man, he is 
matter; but, when he speaks a scientific truth, he is out 
of matter, and so far equal to God. 

** Is man spirit or matter? Neither. Then what is 
he ? He is life. What are his attributes ? A knowledge 
of himself as a living, thinking, seeing, and moving 
being. . . . Then what is this body that we see ? 
A tenement for man to occupy when he pleases; but, 
as a man knows not himself, he reasons as though he 
were one of the fixtures of his house, or body. . . . 
We do not think or know that all there is of us is our 
wisdom, and [that] happiness and misery is what fol- 
lows our belief. If we had no belief, we should either 
be fools or wise men. So a belief makes neither, but 
[makes] a man of error, or matter that can be changed. 
All of these faculties are out of the idea body but one, 
that is, error.* " 

"We often speak of man's identity as though there 
were but one identity attributed to him. This is not the 
case. Man has as many identities * as he has opinions, 
and the one his senses are attached to last is the one that 
governs him. Now, this may seem strange; but, never- 
theless, it is true. Our [spiritual] senses are not our 
identity, because they cannot change; for they are 

' This is one of the ambiguous sentences sometimes taken to mean 
that " all is mind." 
» i86i. 
' That is, selves or types of consciousness. 

I02 Health and the Inner Life 

principles. But our belief, thoughts, and opinions can 
change ; for they are matter. So, when we say a person 
never changes, it is as much as to say he is nothing but 
a brute; for he really denies the principles of progres- 
sion, because he does not admit such a thing as change. 

** Perfect wisdom embraces every idea in existence; 
and, therefore, every idea that comes to the light through 
the senses existed before to Wisdom. Every person who 
was, or ever will be, existed as much before he ever 
came to our senses as afterwards. . . . Man's in- 
telligence is a truth that existed before he took form or 
was seen by the natural eye. . . . The real man is 
never seen by the natural senses; but the real man makes 
himself known through science ... as a person 
who knows a fact, and can teach it to another. . . . " * 

** We have not a true idea of God. God is not a man 
any more than man is a principle. When we speak of 
God, we are taught to believe in a person. So we attach 
our senses to a person called God, and then talk about 
His laws, and the violation of them is our trouble. . . . 
The Christian's God is a tyrant of the worst kind. God 
is the name of man's belief. . . . The God of the 
savages is their belief, the God of the Mohammedans is 
their belief, and so on, to the Christian's God. . . . 

** Man has invented a God according to his belief, so 
that God is the embodiment of man's belief. As man's 
belief changes, so his God changes; but the true God 
never changes. The wisdom of man condensed into a 
being called God is set up for the ignorant to worship ; 
. . . and we have revered and worshipped it not from 
love, but from fear. . . . The true God is not ac- 
knowledged by this man's God, but is in the hearts of 

1 1865. 

Quimby's Theory of Man 103 

the people working like leaven till it leavens the whole 

**To believe in this God is to know ourselves, and 
that is the religion of Christ. It is Christ in us, not 
opinions we are in. Just as we know this truth, we are 
of and a part of God, . . . and will be guided by 
the Father of all truth. This purifies and cleanses our 
minds from all opinions, and leads us into the world of 
science where opinions never come. Then one man 
shall not lead us by his opinions; but, if one says, 
* Here is the truth,' let him prove it. This raises man 
to a higher self-respect ; and if man does not respect 
himself he cannot complain if others do not respect 
him. . . . This something [God] is what the world 
of opinions reasons about. ... It has always been 
in the world, or in man's belief; but man knows it not. 
It has no place in men's hearts nor in the religious world 
except as an unexplained mystery. It comes to man's 
senses, but man knows it not. It stands knocking at 
the door, but is not recognised as having an identity. 
So it is mocked at, spit upon, hated, and despised by all 
men. Yet it is always the same, calm and unmoved, 
sympathising with its friends, who are bound down by 
opinions of this world's belief. . . . 

** Now, what is it? It is an invisible Wisdom, which 
never can be seen by the eye of opinion, any more than 
truth can be seen by error. ... It is the key that 
unlocks the innermost secrets of the heart. ... It 
is in the prison of man's belief, and it leads the prisoner 
who has been bound captive, to health. . . . It is a 
Wisdom which fills all space, whose attributes are all 
light, all goodness and love, which is free from all selfish- 
ness and hypocrisy, which makes or breaks no laws, but 

I04 Health and the Inner Life 

lets man work out his own salvation, which has no laws 
and restrictions, sanctions all men's acts according to 
their belief, and holds them responsible for their belief, 
right or wrong, without respect to persons. 

** This Wisdom teaches man that, when our senses are 
attached to opinions of any kind, we become the subject 
of that opinion, and suffer according to the penalty at- 
tached to it, unless forgiven, or the debt paid by the 
truth. This is the new truth spoken of by Jesus. To 
know this is to have eternal life; and the life is the Wis- 
dom that can enter the dark prisons of man's mind, find 
his life imprisoned by the opinions of this world, hear 
his groans, feel his sorrows, break the prison walls of his 
belief, and set him free." * 

"Jesus always wished to make a difference in regard 
to his opinions and what he knew as a science. To show 
how he separated himself as Jesus the man of opinions 
from Christ the scientific man, it was necessary to show 
something as proof.* So the sick was the problem to be 
solved. This separation was a mystery to the people: 
their superstition was called into action, and, instead of 
listening to Jesus when he talked the Christ, or truth, 
they attributed his works to a power from God; and all 
the cures were taken as proof of that fact. If the people 
believed he came from God, it was useless to know how 
he cured; for, if they knew this, it would destroy the 
belief that he came from God, and so overthrow their 
religion. Theref6re, the leaders laboured to prove to 

' August, 1861. 

•By "Christian Science," then, as Mr. Quimby used the term, 
was meant the applied knowledge of the Christ principle which was 
exemplified in the life and teachings of Jesus. This "science" is 
capable of universal proof. 

Quimby's Theory of Man 105 

the people that Jesus had a mission from heaven to save 
souls, and the cures which he performed were only to 
prove that he came from God." * 

** This same Christ which you crucify by your 
theories is the same that Jesus taught eighteen hundred 
years ago. It was taught by the prophets of old, and 
has always been in the world, but has never been applied 
to the curing of disease, although false Christs have arisen 
and deceived the people, and the true Christ has been 
crucified by the priest and doctor to this time. 

" The natural world is full of figures that may illus- 
trate man's belief. The silkworm spins out his life, and, 
wrapping himself in his labour, dies. The infidel and 
brutal man reason that they do the same. The cater- 
pillar is a good illustration of the natural man groping in 
the dark, guided by a superior wisdom that prompts his 
acts. When his days are numbered, wrapped in the 
mantle of this earth, he lies down to sleep the sleep of 
death; but the wisdom that brings forth the butterfly 
also develops its science. In order that truth may come 
forth, error must be destroyed ; and science, groping in 
darkness, bursts into light, and rises from the dead as 
the butterfly, not the caterpillar. 

** All men have sinned, or embraced beliefs. So all 
must die to their belief. Disease is a belief: health is 
in wisdom. So, as man dies to his belief, he lives in 
wisdom. My theory is to destroy death, or belief, and 
bring life and wisdom into the world. Therefore, I 
come to the sick, not to save their beliefs, or life in dis- 
ease, but to destroy it. And he that loseth his life for 
wisdom will find his health, or life." " 

' March, i86x. * 1865. 

io6 Health and the Inner Life 

It is plain that these are the thoughts of a man 
who made little use of books and depended upon his 
own observations and insight. His writings are, in 
fact, almost entirely limited to accounts of his own 
experiences and conclusions, interspersed here and 
there with references to the Civil War, which was in 
progress when he wrote. He often changed his 
subject when half-way through an article, or intro- 
duced a prophecy concerning the war. 

He is concerned throughout with the actual course 
of events in human life, the dual nature of man, and 
the directions of mind which resistlessly bring hap- 
piness or misery, according to the nature of man's 
belief. He emphasises the fact again and again 
that action and reaction are equal, and that man is, 
therefore, responsible for his happiness and misery. 
He therefore believes that everything in life is law- 

In summarising his theory of man, the most im- 
portant consideration is the law of progress, as Mr. 
Quimby apprehended it: "Man is a progressive 
being." Into his life has entered a higher element 
or power, which Mr. Quimby often speaks of as the 
feminine or spiritual element, while man is of the 
earth, earthy. The two are in conflict, the two are 
present in every man. And, since man begins life 
an epitome of creation, "with all the elements of 
the material world," "it is not strange that phenom- 
ena should appear, while man is so ignorant of what 
he is composed of, which can be traced to the 
animal kingdom with which they are most identi- 

Quimby's Theory of Man 107 

fied." These conflicts or diseases Mr. Quimby 
called "progressive action"; and, if man under- 
stood that his life was a progressive process, or 
evolution, he would be free from or superior to 
these conflicts through his science or wisdom. 

Conduct, then, following the example and teach- 
ing of Mr. Quimby, would involve wise adjustment 
to the conditions of progress, so that they will not 
bring friction, and a recognition of this higher ele- 
ment which is trying to come forth. 

Throughout his writings there is a sense of re- 
pose, based on firm conviction, which shows how 
strong was his ideal of health and happiness, how 
clear his understanding of life's actual conditions. 

There is an entire lack of that enthusiasm and 
excitement which characterises many of those who 
are interested in mental healing to-day. With him 
there was no straining after ideals, no overdrawn 
assertions. He was eminently practical, and de- 
voted to the needs of the living present. 

His philosophy teaches one to recognise what 
actually exists here and now, since God is not some- 
where afar off, but immanent in His world of mani- 
festation and in the soul. It is theory and practice, 
philosophy and life, religion and life combined. 
Although especially applied by Mr. Quimby to the 
healing of the sick and the instruction of those who 
cared to converse with him about his ideas, his 
theory is sufficiently comprehensive to be a guiding 
factor in every moment of life. It inculcates a 
mode of life rather than a mere method of healing. 

io8 Health and the Inner Life 

No single article, nor all that Mr. Quimby wrote, 
does this theory full justice; for to those who knew 
him, and who received the direct benefit of his 
work, his own life was far larger and nobler than 
anything he wrote. One who has some acquaint- 
ance with this more personal element, therefore, 
turns from the written page to the large, unselfish, 
and deeply original nature behind it, as to one whose 
privilege it was to be of unusual benefit to human- 
ity, and to utter words of wisdom and perform acts 
of love that are rarely equalled. If Mr. Quimby 
was unable to complete his "science of life and 
happiness," he at any rate gave a great impetus to 
others, and this personal inspiration is perhaps the 
greatest blessing a man can bestow upon his fellows. 



ASIDE from his suggestive theories in regard to 
the nature of man, the peculiar merit of Mr. 
Quimby's work was briefly this: Having observed 
the influence of mind in the production and healing 
of disease, he did not stop with that discovery, but, 
single-handed and amidst opposition from the regu- 
lar physicians, persisted in his inquiries until he 
worked out a system whose truth he proved by 
healing disease in its worst forms. All who are 
familiar with the medical theories and methods of a 
half-century ago will appreciate what that victory 
means. They will see that no one could win 
such a triumph unless inspired by unusual love 
of humanity and by keen originality of thought. 
Others will, perhaps, see in this work evidences of 
divine guidance, the working out, in the fitness of 
time, of providential methods for the relief of human 
suffering. For our present purposes, the general 
theory developed by Mr. Quimby may be summar- 
ised under the following heads : 

(i) Human life is mental rather than physical. 
Until brought to consciousness, man lives largely 
in the world of his own beliefs, fears, opinions, 


1 lo Health and the Inner Life 

emotions; he finds what he seeks, tends to create 
for himself what he believes. This mental world is 
not limited to the sphere of conscious life, but is 
intimately related with the great realm of subcon- 
sciousness. This deeper part of his mental life is, in 
turn closely related with the organic life of the 
body, and with the hidden social influences which 
unite him with his fellows. The particular signifi- 
cance of this theory is the basis it affords for the 
description and explanation of diseases in the light of 
its inmost origin and cure. The theory involves no 
denial of facts, but special emphasis is put upon the 
subtler influences of the inner life. 

(2) But man is not merely a mental being : he is 
not alone subject to opinions and beliefs ; he is also 
a soul, an inhabitant of a higher order of existence. 
As an immortal soul there is not only a part of his 
nature that is never ill, that never sins, but he pos- 
sesses higher faculties which function independently 
of the physical senses. Through these superior func- 
tions man is able to become receptive to a greater 
power than that of the flesh, or the mind in its 
ordinary operations. Man is also the recipient of a 
superior wisdom. Guided by this wisdom, and 
using this power, he is able to accomplish that 
which seems impossible from the usual point of 
view. Thus the activities of the inner life are 
gradually brought into control, and the problems of 
health and disease become problems of the indi- 
vidual, problems of temperament and self-mastery; 

(3) When sitting silently by a sick person, one 

The First Teachers 1 1 1 

who is acquainted with these superior powers is able 
intuitively to discover the inmost cause of the 
patient's trouble, and bring to bear the power of 
the spirit to heal the flesh. The process of cure 
does not alone consist in sitting in silence by the 
sufferer, but includes intimate understanding of the 
patient's case, an explanation of the disease, and of 
the principles involved in its cure. The silent 
method of cure now widely practised is the direct 
outcome of the mode of treating the sick which Mr. 
Quimby acquired through many years of work. 

(4) Thus "the explanation is the cure" in a much 
larger sense than at first appears. What seems to 
be a rather shallow notion concerning disease, 
namely, that it is "the creation of man through 
false reasoning," proves to be merely a preliminary 
statement which arouses a desire to investigate. 
The physical conditions of disease are not denied, 
but it is found that much depends upon the beliefs 
and attitudes with which they are met. Granted 
the proper knowledge of the painful sensations and 
the inner causes, together with the wisdom needed 
to meet them, an entirely different result is created 
out of incipient tendencies to disease. To know 
how disease is erected out of a few materials is to 
know how to build its opposite, health. Thus the 
science of disease, regarded from its mental side, 
becomes the basis of "the science of health." But 
the power of mind in health and disease is merely 
the introductory subject. The whole outlook on 
life is changed with the discovery that so much 

112 Health and the Inner Life 

depends upon our initiatory attitudes and beliefs. 
The deeper interests concern man's social and re- 
ligious life. To break away from bondage to 
physicians and medicine is to begin to break away 
from servitude to all that is material, — to discover 
another mode of life and thought. The impetus 
which Mr. Quimby gave his patients was, there- 
fore, one that led to a new spiritual interest and a 
life work. 

Time has shown that the essentially novel feature 
of Mr. Quimby's work and teaching was the method 
of making concretely practical the great truths of 
idealistic philosophy and religion. That the spirit- 
ual world is nigh unto the natural, that God is im- 
manent in His world, had long been believed by 
the enlightened. But that one could so realise the 
presence of the spiritual in the natural, so draw 
upon the resources which spring from the divine 
immanence as to heal all kinds of disease by a con- 
sciously directed process, which could afterwards be 
described and reduced to principles which all could 
understand — this was a proof of philosophic and 
spiritual truth which was new to the world. When 
all has been said to belittle this accomplishment as 
much as possible, and bestow credit anywhere but 
where it is due, this is the achievement without 
which the mental-healing movement would have 
been impossible. It required this last and most 
difficult demonstration of spiritual truth, the heal- 
ing of physical disease, to establish a practical 
method which applies to all phases of human life. 

The First Teachers 113 

The elements of this demonstration had already 
been discovered. Religious seers and philosophical 
reasoners had come as near as possible to the prac- 
tical application of their teachings without actually 
proving them in this concrete way. It was the work 
of Mr. Quimby which brought these elements into 
proper relation and gave men the clue to the real 
significance of their own beliefs. 

Mr. Quimby was a pioneer, a forerunner, and 
prophet. He worked long enough in his chosen 
direction to call power there and establish a new 
interest. Hence he belongs among that small class 
of original, courageous men who have the persist- 
ence to break through a wall of opposition. The 
power that enabled him to do this had long been 
gathering in his own life and in his practice with the 
sick. He expected to do much more than merely 
to establish the new interest. But, like so many 
other original men, his earthly life came to an end 
when the example had been set for his successors 
to follow. In some respects he was more successful 
as a worker than as an exponent of his theories, for 
he undoubtedly possessed greater healing power 
than those who have come after him. In this, too, 
he resembled other pioneers, for it usually remains 
for others to expound and to unfold. Singularly^ 
enough he has been subject to the usual misrepre- 
sentation. But there were faithful followers, too. 
The work he hoped to accomplish by revising and 
publishing his writings others have done. His 
manuscripts, if published, would now be chiefly 

1 14 Health and the Inner Life 

interesting as illustrative of the type of life and 
work which we are here attributing to him, rather 
than as adequate accounts of his insight and his serv- 
ice to humanity. Nevertheless, as it is precisely the 
character of his pioneer work that has been most 
neglected it is to be hoped that these writings will 
some time be carefully edited and given to the 

I. As early as 1857, fairly intelligent accounts of 
Mr. Quimby's theory and practice began to appear 
in the newspapers of Maine.* The first follower to 
publish a book on the subject was Rev. W. F. 
Evans (18 17-1889), one of the four exponents of 
the original theory who have done most to spread 
the doctrine. The best account of the life and work 
of Dr. Evans has been recently published in a little 
leaflet, by Rev. W. J. Leonard,* from which I make 
the following quotation : 

** The modern mental-healing movement which, under 
the various names of mental science, Christian science, 
divine science, metaphysics, new thought, and what not, 
has been of untold service to the world, originated, let it 
never be forgotten, in the investigations, discoveries, and 
mental-healing practice of Phineas Parkhurst Quimby 

* Some of these articles were reprinted in The Philosophy of P^ P. 
Quimby^ chap. ii. 

' The Pioneer Apostle of Mental Science, Boston, 1903, Mr. 
Leonard has in preparation a more elaborate study of the life and 
teachings of Dr. Evans, including quotations from early journals, 
and an account of the spiritual development which prepared Dr. 
Evans to become '* the pioneer apostle." 

The First Teachers 1 1 5 

(1802-1866), of Belfast and Portland, Maine. If he was 
an * uneducated man,' as one of his patients, Mrs. Mary 
Baker Eddy, has recently declared in a public message, 
he was fortunate enough to be endowed with an original 
and intuitive mind and a love of truth, which stood 
him in good stead, and enabled him to lay hold of princi- 
ples which had hitherto eluded the ken of the educated 
world of his day. Though he wrote no books, he had 
formulated those principles sufficiently to communicate 
a knowledge of them to his disciples. 

* * Three years before his death, which occurred in 
January, 1866, a patient came to him in Portland from 
western New Hampshire who had the training of a 
scholar and the literary habits of an author and a clergy- 
man. He had, withal, an open and receptive mind, and 
though, with his other accomplishments, he was versed 
in medicine, he became at once profoundly interested in 
the mental-healing theories and methods of Dr. Quimby.' 
This was the Rev. Warren Felt Evans, then of Clare- 
mont, who was destined to become the pioneer author 
and healer in the new school of therapeutics founded 
by Dr. Quimby. 

"Dr. Evans had not been physically sound for many 
years, having a nervous affection that was complicated 
with a chronic disorder that bears rather an ominous 
name in medicine. He heard of the wonderful cures 
that Dr. Quimby was performing in Maine, and in 1863 
he visited him as a patient, as already noted. In fact, 
he made two visits about this time. The spiritual 
philosophy in which he believed, together with the 

' The term ** doctor," here applied to Mr. Quimby, simply means 
that he was a healer. Mr. Quimby was not medically trained. 

ii6 Health and the Inner Life 

intellectual acuteness that belongs to the well-disciplined 
mind, prepared him to grasp at once the principles of 
Dr. Quimby's system of healing. So at the close of his 
second visit, he said to Dr. Quimby, * I believe that I 
can heal as you do.' Dr. Quimby promptly replied, * I 
think you can. * Up to this time no one of his patients 
had entertained the thought of being competent to enter 
upon the healing ministry which Dr. Quimby had then 
followed for twenty-three years. Dr. Evans, upon re- 
turning to his home in Claremont, very soon began his 
career as a mental practitioner, and found himself per- 
fectly at home in the work. 

** He had demonstrated the fundamental principles of 
mental healing in a practice of six years before he issued 
his first book on the subject, in 1869. He was an author, 
however, before he was a healer, having published sev- 
eral books that treated of spiritual themes. His first 
work on mental healing is called The Mental Cure^ to 
which are added on the title-page the descriptive words, 
* Illustrating the influence of the mind on the body, both 
in health and disease, and the psychological method of 
treatment.' This work has a singular interest as the 
first one written in support of metaphysical healing, but 
it has great value also for its profound and scholarly 
treatment of the subject. In the next six years Dr. 
Evans published two other books called Mental Medicine 
(1872) and Soul and Body (1875) which give a further 
unfolding of the views of this remarkably suggestive 
writer. These three books were in circulation before 
the Christian Science text-books,* and all antedate any 
other book on the subject. 

** While Dr. Evans, even in these earlier writings, 
^ The first edition of Science and Health was issued in 1875. 

The First Teachers 117 

made his own contribution to the philosophy and thera- 
peutic methods of mental science, as other eminent 
writers on the subject have been doing in later years, he 
from the first recognised his debt to Dr. Quimby, as 
when he says, in his second publication mentioned above, 
* Disease being in its root a wrong belief, change that be- 
lief and we cure the disease. By faith we are thus made 
whole. There is a law here the world will some time un- 
derstand and use in the cure of the diseases that afflict 
mankind. The late Dr. Quimby, one of the most suc- 
cessful healers of this or any age, embraced this view of 
the nature of disease, and by a long succession of most 
remarkable cures proved the truth of the theory and the 
efficiency of that mode of treatment. Had he lived in a 
remote age or country, the wonderful facts which oc- 
curred in his practice would have now been deemed 
either mythical or miraculous. He seemed to reproduce 
the wonders of the Gospel history.' One who knew Dr. 
Evans intimately reiterates this sentiment in a letter to 
the writer of this article, in the following words: * In his 
estimation. Dr. Quimby was the highest authority in the 
science of healing, and a man of noble character and 
purest aims, which Dr. Evans believed were indispens- 
ably necessary to bring one into the perfect peace and 
the harmony with the Divine Life required to teach or 
heal the sick and suffering with success. ' 

'* Not only was Dr. Evans fair enough thus to honour 
his master in the science, but, with the humility and 
modesty that are characteristic of the truly great soul, he 
made no attempt to claim that the truths he presented 
were absolutely new. * In the present mental-cure sys- 
tem,* he says, *I know of no principle which is true that 
is not found in the New Testament and in the true 

ii8 Health and the Inner Life 

spiritual philosophy of all ages and nations.' Much less 
would he have any one consider his views authoritative 
beyond all question. He concludes the preface of his 
first book with words that illustrate his spirit of fairness 
and freedom from dogmatism. He says, * It is to be 
hoped the volume may prove acceptable and useful to all 
who feel an interest in the imperfectly explored region 
of human knowledge into which it attempts to penetrate 
with the light of philosophy. . . . The author claims 
no infallibility for his opinions and conclusions, but sub- 
mits them to the candid judgment of all men who love 
truth for its own sake.* 

** This first treatise on the mental-healing science 
proved to be more acceptable than the author could 
have possibly anticipated in his most sanguine moments. 
It found many readers at once, not only in America but 
in European countries, where it was translated into other 
languages at an early day. 

" Dr. Evans's active and fertile mind produced three 
other books on the topic that had an absorbing interest 
to him. The titles in the order of their publication are: 
The Divine Law of Cure (1881), The Primitive Mind 
Cure (1SS4), Esoteric Christianity arul Mental Therapeutics 
(1886). The last two books embody the substance of 
the author's instruction to his classes. 

** These six remarkable books are the permanent 
contribution of Dr. Evans to the metaphysical healing 
movement. Their treatment of the subject is practically 
exhaustive, and it is to be doubted if they are ever alto- 
gether superseded by any works that may be written." 

It was undoubtedly Dr. Evans's acquaintance 
with the writings of Swedenborg which enabled him 

The First Teachers 119 

so readily to grasp and develop the ideas he gained 
from Mr. Quimby. In addition to his experience as 
a Christian minister he had long been familiar with 
the writings of Berkeley and the other idealists. 
His own intuition and inner spiritual experience 
also led him to a point where he was prepared to 
apply his Christian idealism to the healing of dis- 
ease. But in books like Swedenborg's Divine 
Love and Wisdom there are teachings which lead 
very directly to the practical method for which Mr. 
Quimby stood. Dr. Evans only needed to find a 
man who was actually proving what he had theo- 
retically anticipated in order to accept the entire 
therapeutic doctrine. Guided by the practical im- 
petus which Mr. Quimby's work gave him. Dr. 
Evans in course of time worked out a remarkable 
combination of all these spiritual and philosophical 
teachings. In his writings one finds a well-reasoned 
account of what Mr. Quimby meant to say, what he 
would have said had he possessed all the data as 
well as a trained mind. For there was remarkable 
affinity between the two men. To one who has 
read Mr. Quimby's manuscripts it is a constant 
satisfaction to note the harmony of thought and 
unity of purpose in their writings. Although Dr. 
Evans only once refers to Mr. Quimby, there is 
nothing he wrote in the six volumes above men- 
tioned that does not directly relate to the Quimby 
teachings. In the first part of The Divine Law of 
Cure, for example, there is an exposition of the 
general spiritual principles in which Mr. Quimby 

120 Health and the Inner Life 

believed, including the distinctions which he drew 
between Jesus and the Christ. Part II. contains an 
interpretation of the idealistic implications of the 
spiritual-healing theory. Here, for instance, one 
finds Mr. Quimby's theory that the body has no 
strength or life of its own. After a careful compari- 
son of Mr. Quimby's ideas with the theories there 
set forth, notably the temperate claims in regard to 
the power of creative thought, one finds no point in 
the argument which Mr. Quimby would not have 
endorsed, except that possibly he would have placed 
less stress on the imagination.^ To these illuminat- 
ing chapters by Dr. Evans I must, therefore, refer 
the reader for details, facts, and arguments which 
cannot here be given in sufficient fulness.* 

2. The relationship of Mrs. Patterson, later Mrs. 
Eddy, to the pioneer work was sufficiently set forth 
in the Arena, May, 1899; and it does not concern 
us here. At that time I had temporarily in my 
possession the letter which Mr. Patterson wrote to 
Mr. Quimby, in 1862, in which he sought the lat- 
ter's help for his wife, then an invalid in bed. I 
also possessed the grateful letters, written by Mrs. 
Patterson to Mr. Quimby during the years when 
Mrs. Patterson was entirely loyal; and I have not 
the least reason to doubt the entire sincerity which 
the letters expressed. I am confident that at that 
time the future Mrs. Eddy had never dreamed of 

' See TA^ Divine Law of Cure, p. 210. 

^ Mr. Leonard's new work on Dr. Evans will also throw light on 
the details of development of the spiritual-healing theory. 

The First Teachers 121 

claiming the therapeutic doctrine as her own ** re- 
velation" ; that she revered Mr. Quimby as the kind, 
unselfish man who had restored her to health and 
freely given her his ideas ; that she regarded him as 
a spiritual teacher, not **an ignorant mesmerist"; 
and that the decision to claim all for herself was of 
much later date, probably as late as 1875. 

The work of Julius A. Dresser (1838-1893) began 
soon after his restoration to health in i860. His 
part at first consisted in the explanation of the new 
"science of life" to inquirers and to Mr. Quimby 's 
patients, among whom was Mrs. Patterson, to 
whom was loaned the first volume of Mr. Quimby's 
manuscripts. This volume was written in 1859, 
and was mainly devoted to the theory of disease, 
mental influences, and '* spiritual matter" as set 
forth in the preceding chapters. Many of its pecu- 
liar expressions might easily be misconstrued. Mr. 
Quimby's later writings, never seen by Mrs. Patter- 
son-Eddy, are much clearer on the crucial points 
pertaining to the relationship of mind and matter. 

The larger public work of Julius A. and Annetta 
G. Dresser began in Boston in 1882. At that time 
the only devotees of the mental-healing doctrine 
were either followers or pupils of former students of 
Mrs. Eddy, or devotees of Dr. Evans. The work 
of my parents was a direct development of Mr. 
Quimby's theories and methods, as shown by the 
following quotation from a circular issued in 1884: 

"So many -persons ask the undersigned what their 
mode of treatment of the sick is, we feel constrained to 

122 Health and the Inner Life 

make a brief general answer. It is none of the prevail- 
ing * isms ' of the day, but is purely a mental treatment; 
and its results are a triumph of mind over the ills of 
suffering humanity, and of the real truth of a sick per- 
son's case over the opinions that assume to know when 
they do not know. No medicines or other material 
means are used, for the reason that it is natural and right 
to be well, and the simple truth understood and applied 
destroys the error of disease. Our examinations are 
made by mental perceptions [intuition] which reveal the 
true state of the patient. This mode of practice ap- 
plies to all cases, and is based upon principles of truth 
discovered and reduced to a science by P. P. Quimby, 
of Maine, We learned it of him, personally, and have 
no name for it except the Quimby System of Mental 
Treatment of Diseases. But it may properly be termed 
a spiritual science. Those who are unacquainted with 
it are asked to judge of it only by its fruits. 

"In this enlightened age of the world there is one sub- 
ject too much neglected, and that is, puin*s understanding 
of himself. All people have some knowledge of the effect 
of the mind in health and disease, but there is a wide 
difference of opinion as to the extent of that effect, and 
very few persons understand how far its influence goes. 
This lack of understanding is what we try to meet by 
our practice and teaching. The only fair judgment that 
can be formed upon this system is by actual test. The 
sick and suffering who have failed to find relief are 
those to whom this subject commends itself for ex- 

" There is a truth not generally known, the understand- 
ing of which tends to avoid sickness, and leads to health 
and happiness. It is no man's belief; it is an eternal 

The First Teachers 123 

truth. We only ask you, if interested, to prove our 
words J* ^ 

In the majority of cases, restoration to health 
meant the awakening of interest to know how the 
cure was wrought. Hence class lectures soon grew 
out of the healing practice. The general method 
of conducting the classes, which usually consisted 
of twelve lectures, was to begin with the description 
and analysis of experiences illustrative of mental in- 
fluence, point out the effect of erroneous opinions 
and beliefs, and show that in general we "live a life 
of mind." Much emphasis, for example, was put 
on the fact that, in what ever way we turn, it is 
the direction of mind that is fundamental, crucial. 
Hence it is necessary to come to judgment, learn 
the power of thought, see the part played by fear, 
emotional excitement, unwise expectations, and the 
like. The second lecture was devoted to a discus- 
sion of the divine immanence. This was the most 
impressive lecture in the course and was of funda- 
mental consequence, as may be surmised from the 
lecture notes quoted in the following chapter. 

The nature of matter was the third topic, and in 
addition to the reading of brief articles from Mr. 
Quimby's manuscripts much evidence was adduced 
from the idealistic literature of the ages in support 
of Mr. Quimby's position.* The foundations of an 
idealistic way of thinking well laid, the influence of 
the mind on the body was considered in detail ; and 

' Cp. The Divine Law of Cure, Part II. 

124 Health and the Inner Life 

instances were related to illustrate the influence 
of mind on mind. These instances were, for the 
most part, drawn from actual practice with the sick. 
Much stress was laid, for example, on so-called 
mental atmospheres and the subtle phases of mental 
life which the therapeutist discerns while treating 
the sick. Here, of course, the appeal was wholly 
empirical, and it was maintained that our mental life 
is put in a new light by the discovery that we are 
in a very intimate sense "members one of another." 

The next step was to explain the subconscious 
after-effects of dynamic opinions and beliefs. The 
way was then clear to bring forward the general 
mental theory of disease. Here, too, much use was 
made of Mr. Quimby's manuscripts. There was 
also constant reference to the New Testament 
teachings in regard to the healing of disease. The 
actual description of the process of mental treat- 
ment was always the most difficult part of the gen- 
eral exposition. Yet, as nearly every member of 
the classes had been recently restored to health by 
the mental method, the appeal to experience was, 
of course, the most effective way to expound the 
theory. At best, however, it was found difficult 
to put into words what must be personally experi- 
enced. Usually the theory of mental cure was 
not proved true in the larger sense of the word until 
the student had tested it by actual practice with 
the sick. 

The spiritual nature of man was the next topic. 
In this part of the discussion it was customary to 

The First Teachers 125 

place considerable stress upon the distinction drawn 
by Mr. Quimby between Jesus, the historical charac- 
ter, and the Christ, the universal ideal or conscious- 
ness. This was deemed an essential distinction 
because it made clear the possibilities open before 
every one who is faithful to the guidance of the 
omnipresent Wisdom. It seemed necessary, too, 
to dwell on the point so that the beginner would 
be encouraged to undertake the work of spiritual 
healing. The distinction did not involve the so- 
called "denial of the divinity of Christ." It took 
nothing from Jesus, the prophet of the Christ. To 
the love of Christ as the elder brother was added 
the practical conception of the Christ ideal, as the 
highest standard of service among the sick. Hence 
to many minds this distinction came with the force 
of a new revelation. 

It was next pointed out that the spiritual life is 
continuous, — that we already live in eternity. In 
this connection much was said about the old 
thought of death, with all the fears associated with 
it. In order to dispel these fears and establish a 
new set of expectations, great stress was put upon 
the fact that the real man is spiritual, the possessor 
of powers which inseparably unite him with a higher 
realm of being. Death was thus shown to be, rela- 
tively speaking, an external incident. To adopt the 
thought of "eternity now" was to become poised, 
calm, free. To realise that our real life is spiritual 
was to overcome the illusions of sense-experience 
with its manifold bondages. 

126 Health and the Inner Life 

The general purpose of these explanations was to 
produce a consciousness of one's actual situation in 
life, with all its subtler influences and conditions, 
then make clear **the wisdom of the situation" by 
showing the real intent of human experience. It 
seemed necessary to bring to light the hidden effects 
of fear, sometimes spoken of as **the backbone of 
disease," in order to clear the way for the realisation 
of spiritual ideals. The fear of death was found to 
be the most persistent of all, hence to displace it by 
showing that we are already sons of God, members 
of an eternal order, was in very truth to prepare the 
way for a new mode of practical life. Thus the dis- 
cussions gradually enlarged in scope from the rela- 
tively superficial considerations in regard to the 
power of thought to the fundamental principles of 
a comprehensive spiritual philosophy of life. It 
was pointed out that the healing of disease was 
merely preparatory to the larger ideals of Christian 

The impression produced by the lectures was 
deeply religious. With the teachers the work of 
healing had always been part of the consecrated life. 
Hence it was natural that much stress should be 
put upon the religious bearings of the general doc- 
trine. For the teachers the restoration to health 
by spiritual means had meant an entire change in 
thought and life. To their followers the new teach- 
ings seemed no less revolutionary. Their followers 
became their friends, and out of this new bond came 
a strong impulse towards practical spiritual living. 

The First Teachers 127 

To one who had been born and reared in a home 
where such principles had been the basis of all 
thought and conduct, so that spiritual help was al- 
ways the aid sought whether in times of illness or of 
sorrow, the teachings came with special significance ; 
for they brought the explanation, at last, of that 
peculiar domestic equation which had long made one 
aware of a difference between one's home and the 
homes of people where there was constant worrying 
and doctoring. To be told in one's youth about 
**the Christ within," to be taught to seek the guid- 
ances of the inner world in every moment of need, 
is an inestimable privilege in more senses than one. 
One then grows up not only with the thought of 
health rather than the fear of disease, the thought of 
life in place of the dread of death, but with an em- 
pirical religious basis free from the encumbrances 
of dogmatic theology. The philosophy of the im- 
manent God then appeals to the mind, in later life, 
as a natural consequence of what has already been 
an experience. 

After 1889, the teaching was somewhat modified 
in the light of recent literature. Much use was 
made, for example, of such works as Evolution and 
its Relation to Religious Thought , by Joseph Le 
Conte. The introduction of the philosophy of 
evolution marked a departure from some of Mr. 
Quimby's teachings. A further departure was an 
evolutionary theory of the significance of suffering, 
the direct outgrowth of the healing practice of 
Annetta G. Dresser. That disease might have a 

128 Health and the Inner Life 

deeper spiritual significance in the evolution of man 
was a thought which Mr. Quimby probably never 
entertained; for this would imply that suffering 
bears a relation to the divine purpose, while to Mr. 
Quimby disease was always ** the invention," or was 
due to the wrong "belief," of man. Nevertheless, 
this is a more intelligible carrying out of his theory 
that disease involves a lesson for man, that man is 
'* a progressive being." This theory of suffering in 
the light of its spiritual significance I have restated 
in my own terms in The Power of Silence y under the 
title "The Meaning of Suffering." For the most 
part, that volume is a direct representative of the 
home life and teachings now in question. 

Whatever the modifications through which Mr. 
Quimby's teachings have passed, the essential in- 
terest has persisted, namely, the desire to under- 
stand man in his inmost relations. It was natural 
that a larger terminology should in due time be 
needed. That "disease is a belief," or an "error of 
mind," is obviously a very inadequate statement of 
the case. But that mind, wisdom, is its true cure 
is a deeply suggestive proposition. For this im- 
plies that man is to understand his actual situation 
in life, penetrate beyond all appearances, and adapt 
himself to the real, that is, the spiritual, situation. 
Hence a spiritual philosophy of evolution and ad- 
justment is the logical outcome of such teaching. 
The problems of ill-health are of one type only. If 
the fundamental principles are correct, all phases of 
human life are included. The more the doctrine is 

The First Teachers 129 

enlarged the more points of connection are dis- 
covered with other teachings. 

The method of inquiry by which these teachings 
were developed is well illustrated by the following 
quotation from the lecture notes of Julius A. Dresser : 

** To understand the theory and practice of this system 
of mental cure you are not to believe something that we 
tell you, because that would not be understanding, but 
believing. This mental cure is a science; and a science 
is something to understand, the same as in mathematics 
you study and prove a problem. We wish to show you 
the truth of life by facts and demonstrations of reason 
and unanswerable proof, not by any beliefs or opinions 
that we may have ; for that would simply make you wise 
in our conceits, not in the true wisdom. Therefore we 
wish you to use your intelligence rather than make any 
effort to remember what is said. You will best under- 
stand if you lay aside the prejudices and beliefs hitherto 
held, so that they may not blind you to what we try to 
show you, and so that the wisdom within may enable you 
to discern the truth. And remember that in leading you 
into the truth we shall not take away from you anything 
that is good. Some old beliefs are destroyed by this in- 
vestigation, but it is done by seeing for yourselves that 
they are wrong. 

"If, as we claim, health is the true state of man, and 
if this mental cure is the simple truth cure, and man has 
no need to be either sick or unhappy, why has not this 
truth been known generations ago, and why is there so 
much sickness everywhere ? The answer may be ex- 
pressed in one word. Opinion. But you do not see the 

force of that answer, so I must explain it. 

130 Health and the Inner Life 

**It IS the common habit of men to make up their 
minds upon a subject according as the matter seems to 
them individually, each claiming the right to his own 
opinion. There would be no inherent wrong in this if 
the opinion were the truth, but it is clear that it is not 
from the fact that opinions differ, while the truth of the 
matter is one upon which all would agree if they un- 
derstood it. Opinion is the stock that all gossip is 
made of, by which a world of harm is done. It is the 
basis of religious differences. It is what the doctor 
gives when by his dictum he dooms your friend to this or 
that disease or pronounces a person incurable. This is 
all meant well, and is the best the doctor knows, but the 
damage that is done, the sorrow that is entailed, and the 
suffering that is thus caused — the world little dreams how 

** Now you wish to know what the doctors shall do or 
say, and what other people shall think and practise. 
There is one rule for all cases: * Prove all things.' Do 
not judge from the appearance^ but go deeper. Patiently 
wait; persistently examine, inquire, investigate, charita- 
bly do as you would be done by. Do not conclude that 
you know a thing until you fully know it, fully under- 
stand it. The world has always held that people cannot 
prove all things, although the lessons of life teach us to 
do it; and believers in the Bible as an authority find 
there a direct command to do so, which they must ad- 
mit would not have been put there if it could not be 
obeyed. . . . 

" The status of mankind is this: being bom in ignor- 
ance and required to work out their own salvation, peo- 
ple have made the natural mistake of judging everything 
from the appearance. This gave rise in the course of 

The First Teachers 13^ 

time to so many beliefs and opinions that these now form 
largely the doctrines and knowledge of the world in 
all departments, especially in theology and medicine. 
These systems of formulated opinions and beliefs are 
constantly changing, showing that they are not the truth 
of the subjects they refer to. This truth of the mental 
cure has always existed, and it has appeared here and 
there all through the life of mankind. It is lived every 
day by everybody, more or less, but is not understood; 
and the reason is because of the error of opinion, in 
which every one comes to his separate conclusion, with- 
out seeking the basis of truth of a matter upon which all 
must agree. Men search the whole earth for informa- 
tion; they search the Scriptures, and they think with 
masterly ability, but what do they settle upon? Theo- 
ries, opinions, in which they differ. Henry Ward 
Beecher, for instance, with reference to the healing of 
the sick by Jesus and his disciples, said, that such things 
were needed then as proofs to a less enlightened age, 
but are not needed now. Yet there are more sick people 
now, and a much larger number of diseases. And Jesus 
said that any man, without reference to time or age of the 
world, who would understand his doctrines should do his 
works. • . ." 



WHAT may we know of God ? ' " Nothing, '' 
says Herbert Spencer; "He is the Unknow- 
able." Then He does not exist, for whatever we 
cannot have some slight actual knowledge of has no 
existence, so far as we have any evidence, and it is 
useless to talk about it. "Canst thou by searching 
find out God, canst thou find out the Almighty 
unto perfection?" asks Job. It is plain that we 
cannot. It will take eternity to do that. But we 
can make a beginning, here and now. We can 
know something about Him and know it in the 
same way that we know our own existence. 

Some people think it is audacious even to discuss 
this question. But we have earthly parents whom 
we love. Is it presumptuous to discuss them, to 
know them better and to love them more? In many 
ways we are directed to love God. How are we to 
love somebody whom we know nothing about, and 
who is utterly unknowable? Can you love some- 
body living at the north pole, or on the planet 

' From the manuscripts of Julius A. Dresser. Reprinted, with 
revisions, from The Journal of Practical Metaphysics^ December, 


The Omnipresent Wisdom 133 

Jupiter? No, because you have no conception of 
what you are to love. It is inevitable that our love 
should be drawn out by a definite conception of the 
one whom we are to love, else the soul is incapable 
of any such feeling as love toward God or any other 
object. True love depends, then, upon having 
some knowledge of its object : especially is it true of 
an object which no one can see. This is self- 
evident. What is it that we seek to know, — what 
is God? 

Since people differ so much in their ideas that 
scarcely any two think alike about God, this ques- 
tion is very difficult to answer. The various opin- 
ions of the religious world make God just what each 
one happens to believe, or imagine. But this shows 
no actual knowledge, nor has the thought been en- 
tertained that God could be felt and to some extent 
described. The general religious teachings tend to 
give the child an idea of God as a man. But if God 
had a form like a man. He would be a limited Be^ 
ing ; for a form must have an outline, and therefore 
limitation. He would then be finite, and this is 
inconsistent with what we feel Him to be. 

I do not need to show that there must be such a 
Being as God, or the first Cause of this great and 
glorious universe, who must still be its prime mover 
and the underlying principle and support of it all. 
Still, it is a practical consideration to recognise 
why there must be such a Being. 

As we look over the face of nature we observe 
a universe of established order and system, and at 

134 Health and the Inner Life 

once we see that some great Intelligence, or first 
Cause, must have created it and must still govern 
it. It is evident that the first Cause must be self- 
existent, uncreated; because if there were not 
something that is self-existent there would be no 
basis upon which anything could be created, nor 
would there be anything to create; and therefore 
no basis for existence. This something that must 
be self-existent is God. And there could be but 
one, because whatever is self-existent must be a part 
of itself, or a part of the one God, and two would 
amount to an opposition. 

Furthermore, it is evident that God is unchange- 
able. If He is the highest wisdom and is perfect, 
then all that He made and established is in the 
highest wisdom and could not be improved. If it 
could have been done better, then He did not have 
the highest wisdom in making it. If, then. He made 
all things in the highest wisdom. He could not 
change anything, because that would be against 
wisdom. He could not change His plan, nor start 
anything new at any time, because it would then 
follow that He did not understand enough to in- 
clude all wisdom in His original plan. Since He is 
the one eternal, infinite wisdom, including within 
Himself all that is good, and the sole cause of all 
that exists. He must have known all things in the 
beginning, and must have included all wise action 
in His first plan. Having thus chosen and acted. 
His plan is completed for all time and cannot be 
changed. His purpose goes on unfolding and being 

The Omnipresent Wisdom 135 

enacted through all time, for of course His plan em« 
braces a great deal to be done through His creatures, 
and they are, therefore, necessary for its accomplish- 

Since, then, this self-existent Power and un- 
changeable Wisdom is all that exists, it follows that 
its offspring or creations are emanations from itself, 
and are, therefore, parts of itself in different orders 
and degrees. Thus a certain writer is justified in 
saying that **God cannot know any other self, there- 
fore He knows us as a part of Himself." This first 
Cause, or God, or Father, is, therefore, the great 
generative source of all that exists, and this generat- 
ive power proceeds forth as the Spirit. We have, 
then, the first Cause, the Spirit, and also the effect 
or result, since we cannot think of the one Cause 
without the other two, namely, the proceeding forth 
and the result. 

It will be seen from the foregoing that what God 
is, what His relations are to each of us, constitutes 
the vital and fundamental truth of life. For it is 
evident that we would be nothing whatever without 
the abiding presence of God. Our next task is to 
show by further explanation that this first Cause, or 
God, the Ruler and Father of all, is literally the 
omnipresent life and mover of every living thing, 
and to show it so that the reader will not only 
understand it, but will realise it and its conse- 
quences in daily life. 

It is evident from the foregoing why Paul asserted 
that there is ''one God and Father of all, who is 

136 Health and the Inner Life 

over all and through all and in you all." It is also 
plain that God is the '*all in all," for there could be 
nothing else but God and His manifestations. Sci- 
ence has shown that all the di£Ferent kinds of force 
are but different forms of one omnipresent energy, 
and this omnipresent energy is and can be no other 
than the Creator of all living things. "In a word," 
says Professor Le Conte, "there is no real efficient 
force but Spirit, and no real independent existence 
but God, in whom, in the most literal sense, not 
only we but all things have their being; in whom 
all things consist, through whom all things exist, 
and without whom there would be and could be 

The idea that some part of God literally exists in 
the human family has long been a favourite thought 
with many. But what is the nature of it? What 
part of you is not yourself, but God? If we can 
ascertain what it is that is God within, working in 
and through us, we can give it better control, we 
can secure better results in our lives and be healed 
of our diseases. If the universal Father is so near 
that we live in Him, who shall say that we cannot 
have some slight knowledge of what this omnipre- 
sence is? Who can safely declare that we can never 
know ourselves well enough to understand what is 
merely of the finite personality, and what it is 
within us that is actually God's presence, however 
minute that portion may be? 

We have seen that God is unchangeable Wisdom, 
or the highest intelligence. Does not this Wisdom 

The Omnipresent Wisdom 137 

exist everywhere? All people have more or less oi 
it, and they can increase their wisdom without rob- 
bing each other. Therefore it is not inherent in 
man himself, because it is much greater, but he is 
the medium of it. He develops it, and grows in it 
through his experience. It is revealed by that in- 
tuition by which we see what we ought to do in a 
given case. For instance, a person sees that by 
giving a quiet and kind reply of information in an- 
swer to an abusive individual who has misjudged 
him, the wrath of the other may be immediately 
subdued, and an apology may follow. While, if 
rage be returned for wrath, a rupture may follow 
that may cause years of unhappiness to both per- 
sons and to others. Nearly all people recognise 
this returning of good for evil as wisdom, whether 
they practise it or not. It proves itself to be such, 
for consider the difference in the result in the above 
illustration. The self-denial that prevents a diffi- 
culty between two people and turns it into a lesson 
in patience, thereby doing good to the angry indi- 
vidual and preventing a trouble of years' standing, 
is a matter of such economy that no one would fail 
to see its great wisdom, though some might not be 
open to enough of it to do likewise. 

Now, this wisdom, being omnipresent, is not 
limited to any one person. All can have it whether 
they now possess it or not. Where does it come 
from? It can also be increased without robbing 
any one. Where is its source? If it has any power 
it must exist somewhere. Public speakers, in the 

138 Health and the Inner Life 

fervour of their advocacy of some good cause, some- 
times rise above themselves and speak better than 
they know. How is it possible? Whence come 
the inspiration and wisdom, that which really proves 
itself to be wisdom? It cannot be from man, for 
man does not have it to start with, but grows into 
it. Is not the Wisdom which is revealed in the 
universe in its magnificent construction and the 
wonderful regularity of its operations, — is not this 
Wisdom, infinite in capacity and power, the same 
that we have found revealed through humanity in 
the instances referred to and in all similar cases? 
There could not be two wisdoms, for, as we have 
already shown, that would imply an opposition. 
And furthermore, nobody entertains the idea of 
two great unseen intelligences. We must, there- 
fore, conclude that there is but one, and that that 
one is God. We thus begin to gain a practical con- 
ception of what God is, of His presence in us, in at 
least one respect. 

Some have believed in a God whom they imagined 
to be central in one place, and therefore could have 
a form and be omnipresent by His power. But that 
is not being omnipresent Himself. One may say 
that He would then be omnipresent in effect, and 
so He would ; but not omnipresent in fact, and the 
fact is the point in question. If He is omnipresent 
at all, and infinite at all, He must be so without 
qualification. And we have seen some proof of 
this in the fact of the omnipresence of wisdom. 
We shall also see further proof of it by recognising 

The Omnipresent Wisdom 139 

God's other attributes. What are His attributes? 
Of course they are every quality and power that is 
good, and in describing these we further understand 
what God is, and also see why Paul speaks of God 
as **One God and Father, who is over all, and 
through all, and in you all" ; that is, that we do live 
directly in God and He in us. 

What is every quality that is good? Life, Truth, 
Wisdom, Intuition, Understanding, Love, Justice, 
Mercy, Patience, Peace, Harmony, and every one 
of these to an infinite and perfect degree. Now, as 
every one of these powers and qualities would each 
need all the rest to make each fully balanced and 
consistent, they must be embraced in One, and that 
One is God. As every one is wise, therefore Wis- 
dom is a more comprehensive word than all others 
except God. And the term Infinite Wisdom sug- 
gests a practical conception of God. 

But we have not yet as fully shown as we may, 
that God is omnipresent in fact as well as in power. 
The qualities or attributes of Life, Truth, Intuition, 
Love, Justice, Mercy, Patience — certainly these 
must belong to God ; and yet these are everywhere, 
are they not? All mankind exhibits them in greater 
or less degree, and if any man increases the degree, 
it may be done here where he is, may it not? A 
man may increase his powers or virtues in one place 
as well as in another. Then these and all good attri- 
butes and powers exist everywhere. They do not 
belong to man alone, but man is the medium of 
them, therefore they do not depend upon him for 

HO Health and the Inner Life 

their existence. These facts show us more of God 
than we saw at first, and what He is, so far as these 
attributes and powers exhibit Him ; and that He is 
omnipresent. As we all have these attributes and 
powers in us to some extent, we see in part what it 
is that is God in us. 

It follows, from all that has been said, that we have 
no good quality or power wholly our own, but that 
all we possess is God in us. This corresponds to 
what Jesus said when they called him "Good Mas- 
ter," and he replied: "Why callest thou me good? 
there is none good but God." That expresses it 
exactly. But we have not understood this. While 
we have believed that there was somewhat of God 
in man, we have not understood what it was that 
was not ourselves but God ; and we have taken to 
ourselves the entire credit of whatever good quality 
or power we have had, and have ascribed the same 
credit to each other. 

Yet, says some one, a person may have a little 
good, and not be wholly bad. Very true; but 
whose good is that? Is it not God in that person? 

If you or I have any good quality or power, 
where do we get it from? If you or I display any 
love, and feel love, is it not God in us? We admit 
that love is everywhere, and that there must be a 
God, and that He must have love. His works show 
it. Now, if you or I have love, is it any less in 
quality^ as far as it goes, than God's love? If not 
the same quality, is it love? Now, if you or I ex- 
hibit mercy, justice, truth, wisdom, are they not 

The Omnipresent Wisdom 141 

the same in quality and kind, so far as one exercises 
them, as God's mercy, justice, truth, wisdom? 
Though only an atom, it may be, or a spark of the 
infinite love, mercy, justice, truth, or wisdom, yet 
it must be of the same kind and quality ; because, 
if not, it would not be real love, mercy, truth, or 
wisdom. There is no half-way position in any of 
these things. In the active manifestation of any 
good quality or power, wherever found, it is thus 
far as real as God's own quality; for otherwise, I 
repeat, it is an independent goodness or wisdom, 
which amounts to an opposition, and we have 
already seen that this cannot be. 

The very power by which we reason out this sub- 
ject is, therefore, God in us. This does not imply 
that we cannot err. We would simply be God if 
we could not err. We are finite manifestations of 
the All-Good, the All-Power, the All- Wisdom, and 
it is our part to grow and develop in these things, 
and increase the manifestation. Further, God is our 
very life. As a recent writer puts it: "Life is of 
God, and even in the unregenerate there is seed for 
the development of a spiritual nature* Man may 
abandon God, but God will not abandon him. 
There is the throbbing of the divine life in every 
artery of his corrupted heart." 

It follows naturally that, if God is our life, our 
strength, our wisdom, — ^the true attitude is one of 
receptivity to God, and a willingness to follow 
whatever comes from that source; and always to 
have a desire to see the true way and move in it, 

142 Health and the Inner Life 

regardless of personal preference. This marks an 
unselfish habit of life and attitude of soul, which is, 
of course, the only way to true success, and is the 
economy of life if our premise is right, — namely, if it 
is God who works in us **both to will and to do," 
and if, like Jesus, of ourselves unaided we can do 
nothing. There is no measuring in words the bene- 
fits which come from this truth. For this know- 
ledge is power, and it increases with a person as 
rapidly as he becomes open to it, through his in- 
telligent development and receptivity. It becomes 
the wisdom of every occasion, and the correct 
thought for every action and word. In fact, it is 
the perfect key to health, happiness, and success. 

It is of vital consequence to understand the divine 
sonship. For it reveals the fact that, instead of 
living in comparative weakness and inefficiency, we 
can approach infinite powers, just so far as we be- 
come open to and understand them. 

How shall we become open to these infinite pow- 
ers? By understanding this sonship, by recognising 
that whatever powers we each possess are not 
merely our own, but are God in us. The knowledge 
that our powers and capabilities are God in us takes 
away all desire to act recklessly, or otherwise than 
with the best of motives and for the best results. 

The understanding of this sonship is gained by 
understanding ourselves analytically. . . . The 
worst enemy we have in getting this understanding 
and in enjoying the infinite power spoken of is self- 
ishness. Man is born in ignorance, but he can grow 

The Omnipresent Wisdom H3 

out of that condition if he overcomes his selfishness. 
In proportion as he is impeded by this, it is like a 
dead weight to defeat his progress toward light and 
truth. For, if he is in reality a medium for that 
which is not himself, the more he is bound up in his 
own affairs, good or bad, the less can that other 
power use him; and this selfishness prevents his 
finding out his true status ; it blinds his eyes and 
seals him in ignorance. 

As we were born in ignorance of ourselves and 
of the truth, what arrangement did God make for 
working through us; how is He to get the work 
done that each of us is assigned to do? Indirectly, 
through our natural belief of necessity for action, 
but, directly, through love. This love is a prompt- 
ing toward another; and, as our ignorance of life 
and truth makes us largely dependent upon each 
other for help of various kinds, the flow of love and 
good-will and of charity is thereby promoted, and 
this opens us to an exercise of the God -powers 
within us. This spontaneous love, the opposite of 
selfishness, opens the soul to a full and free action 
for whatever cause we may promote, and its stream 
is always laden with the dews of heaven for every 
thirsty soul it may help. 

Here we see why Paul said, **Let no man seek 
his own, but each his neighbour's good," because 
man's real power, God, works through one for 
another; and love unites us all in one bond of 
brotherhood, and in our common Father, Reality. 
And we see why Jesus said so much about oneness 

144 Health and the Inner Life 

with his disciples, and why he laid down such far- 
reaching and apparently superhuman laws for the 
practice of love, namely, ' * Love your enemies, * * * * Do 
good to them that hate you and despitefully use 
you." It was because love was the very flood-gate 
through which flow man's real and true powers, and 
the wisdom that makes success and breaks down all 
obstacles. Christ's law of love, therefore, is the 
economy of life, the open door for the powers of the 
Infinite to flow through us to secure our prosperity 
and to do mighty works. 

What is truth?' In an abstract sense it is that 
which is unchangeable. What is the unchangeable 
truth referred to by Christ in this instance? That 
man is, in principle and in fact, a spiritual being, 
bom of spirit, which spirit is God; that the ap- 
pearance does not show the truth of our life ; and 
that the world does not correctly understand it ; and 
that we are all spiritual beings existing in God, who 
is our only life and goodness. 

Certainly, we exist within Him, if He is omni- 
present, so present as to be within each one of us. If 
this is the fact or truth that Christ referred to, it is 
easy to see that the understanding of it must result 
in freedom from the many evils and fears the world 
suffers under. And, if this can be done, it must be 
a great and a glorious truth to find out, so valuable 

> From a discourse delivered at the Church of Divine Unity, Bos- 
taa ; pnbUshed in the MentalHeaUng Monthly, July, 1887. 

The Omnipresent Wisdom 145 

that no one can afford to be without it or lose any 
time in getting the understanding of it. 

**The truth shall make you free." Free from 
what? First, free from all those doubts and uncer- 
tainties which mark the inner life* of nearly every 
earnest person in this world. Instead there come a 
peace and an assurance that turn darkness into light 
and doubt into surety, because one has now changed 
from the false basis of mere belief to the solid 
foundation of practical understanding. . . . 

Second, the truth makes free from fear of all kinds 
of dangers, apprehensions of evil, fear of coming to 
want, or of failure in business, and every other fear, 
including fear of disease ; and also it gives freedom 
from liability to it. Ought not this to be the result 
of finding out that we are spiritual beings, so closely 
allied to God that His powers are our powers and 
we have no other, and that His harmony can at any 
time take the place of our discord? Christ said: 
**If the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free in- 
deed." Does not this cover as much freedom in its 
import as I have described? Let us look farther 
into Christ's words, to see if he provides for a bet- 
ter, happier, healthier, freer life than the average 
Christian enjoys. 

In healing the sick and infirm, in some instances 
he said, **Thy sins are forgiven thee," thus classing 
sin and sickness together. He did the same when 
he said to a man he had healed: "Sin no more, lest 
a worse thing come upon thee." In John xiv., 12, it 
is recorded that he said, **He that believeth on me, 

146 Health and the Inner Life 

the works that I do shall he do also" ; and they did 
so in those times. But the promise is without limit 
as to time, or age of the world, or kind of persons. 
Therefore, it would seem from the wording of the 
passage that a Christian in any age might do Christ's 
works. Certainly, he ought, if sin and sickness be- 
long in the same class, because it is the Christian's 
duty to avoid sin, to overcome it in himself, and 
try to help others to overcome it. 

Christ also commissioned his disciples to go into 
all the world, and preach the gospel to every creat- 
ure. Mark the import of the words, — **go into all 
the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." 
There is no limit here as to time or number of peo- 
ple. And he named five different experiences that 
should occur as evidences or signs to those who 
understood the gospel. Among these was the heal- 
ing power, showing that a person had not the full 
gospel, or truth, unless he could cpnquer disease as 
well as other evils. 

Does not Christ, therefore, show that the truth 
that makes a true Christian is a truth that makes a 
person "every whit whole," delivering the body 
from its torments as well as the soul from its sins 
and temptations? 

I leave it with those who are church-going Christ- 
ians to determine for yourselves. But, however you 
decide, would it not afford great relief and greatly 
promote your Christianity if you could discover a 
ready and effective way out of physical suffering? 
Certainly it would. The average person cannot be 

The Omnipresent Wisdom 147 

remarkable for Christianity nor be remarkably happy 
and be in poor health at the same time ; and even 
those who appear to be happy and resigned in 
chronic illness and sufferings are not submitting 
themselves to God's will half so much as they think ; 
because, in the first place, it is not God's will 
that they or any one else should be sick; and, 
secondly, I have noticed that those same persons 
who think they are so resigned to God's will that 
they should be sick will go miles and miles to see 
some new physician or patronise some new cure, by 
which, if possible, to get well, showing that the in- 
stincts of natural wisdom are stronger and really 
wiser than religious sentiment and belief, 

Jesus gave us the rule of knowing persons and 
things by their fruits. Now, as disease is bad, if it 
comes from God, then He is bad. This you will 
not admit. Therefore, as disease is bad, it must 
come from a bad source. '*But," says some per- 
sistent Christian who has more belief than wisdom, 
**God permits sickness." How do you know that? 
We have found disease to be bad, and that it should 
be classed with the errors and evils and sins of the 
world, where it comes from. 

Now, if you excuse yourselves and attribute dis- 
ease to God, you must also charge Him with all 
other errors and evils ; for all belong together. But, 
if God ever endorsed or permitted disease in any 
way, Jesus would never have cured a single case of 
it, because he would not have upset his Father's 
works. Jesus opposed diseases as much as he did 

148 Health and the Inner Life 

the errors of the world, and he classed them all to- 
gether. God permits one no more than another: 
He permits sickness no more than he does murders. 
We must unlearn our sicknesses as we unlearn our 
other shortcomings and evil doings. The possibility 
of doing this is the glorious truth that is just now 
dawning upon the world for a second time. 

Jesus revealed it eighteen hundred years ago ; and 
the Church enjoyed the revelation for about three 
hundred years, then went into "the dark ages" of 
human opinions and self-conceits, from which, after 
fifteen hundred years of feeding on medical husks 
and **the wisdom of the world," it is just now 
returning to "the Father's house." . . . 

It is the truth that makes us "free indeed." To 
be "free indeed" would seem to imply that there 
was an unusual liberty in the truth. This we find 
to be exactly so ; and this throws light on that other 
passage which says, "Where God is, there is liberty." 
What is that liberty? First let us find where God is. 
"Who by searching can find out God? " asks a Bible 

Perhaps, then, we had better take Christ's words 
for a guide. Where does he say God is? In His 
kingdom. Where is His kingdom? Within. Then, 
if the kingdom of God is within every one of us (for 
God is no respecter of persons), we have only to 
understand that to get into that kingdom, body and 

"Do you mean," some one asks, "that we can 
have such understanding, right here in this life, of 

The Omnipresent Wisdom ^49 

what is meant by the phrase 'the kingdom of God 
is within you/ that we shall be free from sickness, 
can avoid sinning, can 'rejoice always' with Paul, 
and virtually put the troubles and trials of life under 

Yes, in proportion as you understand and are in 
earnest, and are governed by the spirit of truth as 
well as the letter of it. I do not say that one will 
be free from trials, which wise people consider 
blessings if rightly met, and which, therefore, we 
should welcome. But concerning sickness and com- 
mitting sin (which is conscious and selfish error), 
and concerning unhappiness and yielding to troubles, 
you must admit that there can be none of these in 
the kingdom of God. Therefore in proportion as 
you enter that kingdom, or set it up understand- 
ingly in yourself, you must be characteristic of that 
kingdom. We can all measure our possession of the 
kingdom of God or truth by its fruits in us. 

Hence, if we ever yield to fear in any direction, it 
is a test of our understanding and of the amount of 
truth we have. We need to make the truth practi- 
cal for the minutiae of every-day life, and we can do 
so. In all the little every-day experiences, one 
learns to take hold of the truth, or the God that 
worketh within, in such a tangible manner that one 
is carried over the trials or perplexities without 
entertaining a doubt, knowing that the love which 
casts out fear is a living, practical reality, not 
merely a sentimental belief. 

The liberty of the truth enters into every moment 

ISO Health and the Inner Life 

of existence. It protects us from being contamin- 
ated by any wrong mental influence or atmosphere 
we may come in contact with ; and in proportion as 
we realise that Wisdom, or God, is always calm, 
never moved or disturbed, we are free from excite- 
ment, preserve our mental equilibrium and maintain 
our physical harmony. 

If at any time we feel a depressing or unpleasant 
atmosphere or state, we may know that it can do no 
harm if we have on the armour of wisdom, which is 
a shield from all evil. When we see persons reason- 
ing themselves into trouble, still holding to beliefs 
of disease, with eyes set toward the dark and appre- 
hending fearful results, we cannot be affected or 
influenced so long as we see only the truth, the 
liberty, the light. 

Moreover, we can so keep on this armour or shield 
of wisdom and truth that our thought will protect 
^ur children, who are exposed by association with 
the world of error. We can teach them a great deal j 

of this freedom of the Perfect Love ; and they will I 

use it and thus be saved from many of the ills that ' 

come to those in the bondage of belief in disease. 

When Christ said to the Jews that the truth 
should make them free, they answered just as the 
world does to-day, wholly from a material stand- 
point, saying that they had never been in bondage 
to any man. So people to-day think they are free, 
because they can do as they please ; but their free- 
dom is slavery of the worst kind. They are slaves to 
their fears, slaves to their priests and to the doctors; 

The Omnipresent Wisdom 151 

that is, they are afraid of results so long as they 
know not the truth of life, and do not understand 
the power of spirit to free them from all bondage. 

Now this is just the point where the followers of 
this spiritual science differ from the world in gen- 
eral. We have learned not to judge after the flesh, 
but to prove things by the spirit and the under- 
standing; and this has let us out of our former 
bondage. Inasmuch as we understand, it makes us 
true sons of God, which is the inheritance into which 
all men were bom. It is an inheritance the precious 
value of which cannot be adequately portrayed in 
words. Let us, then, say with Paul: "With free- 
dom did Christ set us free: stand fast, therefore, 
and be not entangled again in a yoke of bondage." 



AT the outset of our inquiry we saw that much 
depends upon the point of view from which 
the relationships of mind and body are regarded. 
The preceding chapters have shown how the spiritual- 
healing pioneers broke away from bondage to phys- 
ical methods of cure, and upon the basis of their 
new insights developed an interior method of phi- 
losophy. We have seen that the method and theory 
thus acquired gradually changed from a relatively 
superficial mental theory of disease to a religious 
doctrine of the inner life. In the preceding chapter 
we came in sight of the central spiritual principle 
which underlies the best work of devotees of this 
school. In order to prepare the way for a more 
detailed account of the theory of spiritual healing, 
let us revert to the elementary principle which has 
proved to be the most direct introduction to the 
subject, namely, the power of thought. It is the 
more necessary to dwell upon this principle, inas- 
much as many students of the general doctrine fail 
to pass beyond it. No mental-healing subject b 
more important at the outset, yet none has been 
more misunderstood. Rightly to estimate the 


The Power of Thought 153 

power of thought is to be able to avoid the extrava- 
gant conclusions sometimes drawn from the facts of 
mental influence. 

In order to treat our subject exhaustively, it 
would be necessary to begin with an idealistic analy- 
sis of human experience and point out that, what- 
ever the appearances, man is really living a mental 
life. We should then need to show that mind is 
the neglected factor in most of our theories, the 
formative, directive power which has played a great 
part in human evolution. It would then appear 
that precisely because man uses the mind con- 
stantly, readily, and effectively he is largely un- 
aware of its power; and hence falls into manifold 
illusions regarding himself and life as a whole. But, 
still confining our attention to the considerations 
which have actually led to mental-healing conclu- 
sions, let us turn to the more superficial phenomena 
of passing influences and beliefs.' 

A little reflection shows that there is a close con- 
nection between momentary thought and later con- 
duct. A single dominant idea will bring about a 
revolution in all our thinking. Our boasted know- 
ledge is largely constituted of ephemeral beliefs, a 
large percentage of which we accepted as true, with- 
out question. That is to say, what we call ** know- 
ledge " is not a scientific product. Note, for 
example, the power of superstition among emotion- 
ally religious people who accept the priest's word as 

* The present subject is considered more philosophically in The 
Power of Silence^ chapters iv.-vii., revised edition, 1904. 

154 Health and the Inner Life 

law. Observe the results of medical opinion upon 
those who are slaves to such opinions. Scarcely a 
man of us is aware to what an extent we are be- 
holden to prevailing fears and theories about our 
health. If a theologian tells us that we have com- 
mitted sins and must, therefore, suffer certain 
penalties ; if a doctor says we have a certain disease 
which may lead to death ; if we own property and 
report says that it is likely to be lost ; or, if a rumour 
comes that a dear friend has met with a fatal acci- 
dent, no matter whether the report be false or true, 
if we believe it it has as much effect upon us as 
though it were true, and we suffer in proportion to 
our conviction. We constantly mistake belief for 
reality ; we are again and again deceived by people 
and things. For the majority of men, believing is 
a far easier and simpler process than systematic en- 
deavour to discover truth. Whatever we believe is 
usually as real to us for the time being, it is as in- 
fluential, as troublesome, or hope-giving, as though 
it were truth itself. 

We approach every experience, every new book, 
every new town or country, each day and year, with 
some opinion, some feeling of expectancy. We 
always have some theory, some leading idea about 
ourselves. We live in our troubles or out of and 
above them ; we work to better our condition, or we 
sit back in despondency. That this particular mental 
attitude is an active cause in determining our con- 
dition, and either keeps us in it or takes us out of it, 
every one knows who has closely observed human life. 

The Power of Thought 155 

People have been cured through strenuous exer- 
tion of the will, and nearly every one has, on occa- 
sion, risen above and thrown off conditions when 
some friend was in danger; when there was an 
entertainment one wanted very much to attend; 
some duty that called one away from the thought 
of self ; some task which must be done. The day 
labourer, the man or woman who is obliged to be up 
at a certain hour and at work, the mother in charge 
of a family, the physician and philanthropist called 
upon to expose themselves to all sorts of contagion, 
are governed by a sense of necessity or by some in- 
spiring ideal. This controlling idea leaves no room 
for other thoughts. The human spirit is capable of 
rising to the occasion and carrying everything before 
it. But where there is no necessity, every one knows 
that the mind falls back upon itself, back to illness, 
invalidism, selfishness, all the complaints that ac- 
company listless inactivity. People have faded 
away from loss of hope and ambition. Others have 
raised themselves almost from the grave by a firm 
determination to live. Place a man where his best 
and strongest characteristics are called to the sur- 
face, and he is another creature. Change of scene, 
change of atmosphere or occupation, produces a 
wonderful transformation. And all this for one 
chief reason: the mind has been changed; some 
idea has made an impression upon it and turned the 
whole activity into another channel. When the 
mind changes ^ the life changes with it. 

Again, observe how bodily conduct is affected by 

156 Health and the Inner Life 

loss of memory, insanity, double personality, hallu- 
cination, and hypnotism. Or, study any physical 
exercise, any occupation whatever, however material 
or mechanical, and you will find that it is an idea 
which led to its development; it is an habitual 
direction of mind which now governs its details. 
The artist struggling to realise an ideal on canvas or 
in marble, the man of business trying to outwit his 
fellow-men, the child at play, the general on the 
field of battle, are engaged in the pursuit of one line 
of thought to the exclusion of many others. The 
contortions of the insane person, the comical actions 
of the one who is the subject of hypnotic experi- 
ments, result simply because all ideas are excluded 
except the one powerful direction of mind which for 
the time governs the entire being. People are con- 
trolled by hobbies, manias, fads, fashions, fears, 
theories, prejudices; and nothing is easier than to 
become imprisoned in ruts which not only exclude 
all that lies beyond them, but at the same time 
bind and imprison the activities of body and brain. 
Every one is in some sense the servant of ideas; 
every one is also an idealist and may learn to be- 
come wisely idealistic. Every one is absorbed, con- 
sciously or unconsciously, sanely or insanely, in the 
task of character-making or unmaking, in shaping 
both the immediate and the distant future through 
stem and relentless mental action and reaction. 

Whatever line of thought or conduct is continued 
until it becomes a habit is likely to wear a path- 
way which renders the repetition of such thinking or 

The Power of Thought i57 

acting a matter of necessity ; and only the utmost 
persistence can counteract such tendencies and drive 
the thought into a new channel. For instance, if a 
man has been in the habit of working his brain in a 
certain way, — if he is a physiologist, a minister, or a 
mechanic, — his mind has a tendency to be active in 
that direction and that alone, regardless of the great 
world of thought beyond, and his brain, copying 
his mental habit, has changed its structure to corre- 
spond with the habit of thought. Give him an idea 
outside of his profession and he is not apt to grasp 
it readily or see what you mean. He habitually 
looks at things from a material point of view, we 
will say, and you from a spiritual, and your words 
are Greek to him. Or, attempt to teach him a new 
language and he must meet and overcome opposi- 
tion and density before he can break through and 
open up a new chamber of his brain, or set up a new 
current of thought. In order to succeed with him 
there must be some point of contact : you must in- 
terest him ; and a new interest is, as we have seen, 
the wonderful transforming power which marvel- 
lously changes a person in different mental and 
physical surroundings. It is some absorbing inter- 
est that controls the insane person. It is some wise 
interest, some ideal, that shapes every well-directed 

It is just such a change of interest and of habit 
that any sick person needs, since the thought is for 
a time turned into a wrong channel. The person 
must be roused, mentally shaken, pulled out of ruts, 

158 Health and the Inner Life 

and what one cannot do for one's self may often be 
done by others, by those who know how, judiciously 
and persistently, to turn a sufferer's attention into 
another channel. 

A person becomes morbid and insane simply by 
dwelling too long on one idea. Every one knows 
that painful sensations increase in intensity when 
one dwells upon them, and if the attention is called 
away one feels better. Interest a child's attention 
and you can control him far easier than by any 
word of command. Hypnotism consists, in one sent- 
ence, in the directing of one person's attention by 
another. With the change of attention goes the 
activity of the organism. It would be discouraging 
and painful in the extreme to learn that we are so 
much at the mercy of habits of brain and mind, if 
the study did not show us how we are daily and 
hourly making our own happiness and misery. 

The general conclusion naturally is that, since 
thought has such power, there must be some power 
behind it which can be understood and relied on ; 
there must be some higher law, some far-reaching 
tendency whose purpose we either aid or impede by 
our thought. The question then is, how to take 
advantage of every element of thought wrhich shall 
restore us when we are ill, every thought which 
shall take us out of and above trouble, every direc- 
tion of mind which shall lead to breadth and sound- 
ness of thought, break up the ruts, the prejudices, 
the thousand and one fears and opinions which have 
so long held us in bondage. It is a question of 

The Power of Thought 159 

optimism applied to health, to daily conduct, and 
character-building. It is a question whether our 
thoughts, our fears and painful sensations, and the 
mental influences by which we are environed shall 
control us or whether we shall control them. 

Very few people realise to what an extent they 
are subject not merely to the opinions and beliefs 
of their fellow-men, but to the subtle mental atmos- 
pheres which beset every household, every environ- 
ment. People so readily fall into similar habits of 
mind and life that they take these influences as 
matters of course, or are utterly oblivious of them. 
One strong ijiind sets the example for hundreds of 
others, and the others follow without knowing that 
they are following. Remarkable cases of hypnotic 
influence are reported in the papers, yet little is said 
about the far more striking cases to which the word 
hypnotism is seldom applied. The fact of telepathy 
is fully accepted in certain quarters, but not much 
has been made known concerning the hidden 
thought-transference which binds mind to mind as if 
we were all connected by a network of fine wires. 

It is plainly not merely a question of the unfortu- 
nate influences of our mental life, but of the nature 
of the life we regularly lead. The occasional or 
morbid and harmful influences are in reality ex- 
aggerated illustrations of phenomena to which we 
are constantly subject. Fundamental to the par- 
ticular phases of the inner life which arouse curiosity 
and provoke thought there is always the prime fact 
of consciousness as the central item of our existence- 

i6o Health and the Inner Life 

In the last analysis we are constrained to admit that 
we see and know the world according to the thought 
or attitude which we bring to it. Hence the im- 
portance of penetrating far enough into the inner 
world to look about and view all aspects of life in 
relation to consciousness as the primary factor. 

To the unreflecting mind, consciousness seems to 
come and go with the waking hours. But inquiry 
shows that the sensations, volitions, and thoughts 
of which we are actively aware are but a small por- 
tion of consciousness. While you are listening to 
a lecture, for example, or reading by the window, 
you are faintly aware of noises outside in the street, 
of lights and shades around you, of organic sensa- 
tions, and passing trains of thought not germane to 
the subject. While you give attention to the cen- 
tral theme of the book before you, you also carry 
on a responsive line of thinking, in which you draw 
upon all your past, so far as it contributes. Cur- 
rents of thought momentarily emerge into conscious- 
ness and take away your attention for a time, 
presently to be dismissed. Many emotions and 
memories blend imperceptibly with these passing 
thoughts. Sometimes the interruptions prove to 
be more consequential than the central theme. You 
seem to be carrying on a deeper process of reflection 
which bears only occasional relation to the more 
actively chosen line of thought. 

Evidently it is merely the most active portion of 
consciousness that sleeps. Oftentimes one awakens 
with a train of thought on which one has surely 

The Power of Thought i6i 

made progress during the night. An anxious 
thought troubles and perplexes while the mind is 
for the most part asleep. A decision to awaken at 
a specified hour in the morning has power to arouse 
the self into conscious activity at the appointed 
time. It is subconsciousness which dynamically re- 
ceives an idea and turns it over until it has become 
our own. Undoubtedly the subconscious factor 
plays a greater part in the life of the morbid, the 
criminal, and the insane than is ordinarily thought. 
Again, our most mature convictions are largely pro- 
ducts of subconsciousness, or are, at least, mainly 
preconscious possessions until the proper occasion 
serves to make them consciously our own. In gen- 
eral, we may say that it is the self that never sleeps 
which realises our ideals. In whatever direction we 
positively and creatively turn, our subconsciousness 
tends faithfully to follow. It is probable that we 
often become subconsciously more receptive to the 
omnipresent Wisdom than when we self-consciously 
try to open the mind. There is less distraction, less 
resistance in the subconscious world. On the other 
hand, all that we know concerning it is discovered 
by analysis of consciousness by inference. Hence 
we may conclude that to control our subconscious- 
ness we must first understand and master conscious- 

Rightly directed, the subconscious self is ever 
active for us, a willing servant, like a better half, 
— wiser than we, ever ready to add its counsels to 
ours. Hence it is once more true that '* as a man 

1 62 Health and the Inner Life 

thinketh in his heart so is he," not as he merely 
thinks momentarily. The subconscious realm is 
the domain of habit, inheritance, temperament. All 
these factors, together with our prejudices and pre- 
conceptions, stealthily influence our thought and 
our conduct. All these might, it is true, be brought 
into the light of active consciousness But in the 
majority of cases we are far more what our subcon- 
sciousness makes us than what we have consciously 

But thought not only has the power to make the 
world seem whatever our opinion makes it out to 
be, but it tends to attract its like. Every one 
knows how easy it is when one begins to worry 
about the health of a friend, to become anxious for 
oneself, or to trouble over financial affairs. The 
first thought leads to another. If circumstances 
have made you somewhat despondent you readily 
find ground for greater despair. The mind quickly 
suggests many possible troubles and calamities. It 
pictures the worst, it grows and becomes strong by 
what it feeds on, until finally, if you are not wise 
enough to stop such thinking you work yourself 
into a thoroughly morbid, fearful, and nervous 
state ; your fears and foolish imaginings seem as real 
as though they had corporeal existence, and all be- 
cause you countenanced the unhealthy thought in 
the beginning. 

We create for ourselves, at first mentally, and 
often physically, what we expect. People at large, 
and especially friends, are ever ready to help us on. 

The Power of Thought 163 

How willing they are to sympathise with trouble, 
to enter into it and say, **It is too bad/* and all 
that, instead of trying to turn our thought into a 
wiser channel ! Friends almost feel it a duty some- 
times to share their fears. Whenever we are de- 
pressed or ill the whole theory and practice of 
medicine is ready to help the matter on, to make 
the most of every little sensation, to describe it, 
name it, treat it as purely physical, and to ignore 
the real cause of the difficulty and its surest cure. 
The point to note is that we must nip the wrong 
thoughts in the bud; we must not permit morbid 
and discouraging thoughts to remain in conscious- 
ness. For whatever wins conscious attention is 
likely to attract its like, to draw similar thoughts, 
and add to itself by accretion until it has become a 
mountain of difficulty. 

To make clearer this combined effect of a con- 
tinued interest or ideal in life, the co-operation of 
subconsciousness, and the power of thought to at- 
tract its like, let us suppose the case of a writer who 
wishes to produce a book on a given subject which, 
for the sake of the present inquiry, shall be a treatise 
on the effect of thought. In the first place, every 
one who has a fixed ideal, like a desire to learn a 
language or to become a musician, is happier and 
more energetic, with less time to think about self 
and become morbid. Our imaginary author is ever 
on the alert for material. His desire, namely, to 
consider the power of mind, becomes a permanent 
habit of thought, and he is constantly turning the 

164 Health and the Inner Life 

subject over to get new light on it. When he 
meets people he observes how one interests and in- 
fluences another. He notices what a wonderful 
power some people have of cheering and encourag- 
ing their associates, not so much by what they say 
as by their presence — that sunny mental atmosphere 
which surrounds them. When he reads or listens 
to lectures he is still observing the power of ideas, 
and wherever he turns in history, science, art, in- 
vention, business, he discovers some exemplification 
of his main thesis. He sees people and things from 
a certain point of view because he is consciously 
looking for that particular line of information. His 
thought runs in a given channel, not wholly, but as 
a chief or leading interest. He maintains a definite 
direction of mind. He finds what he looks for, and 
if he finally reaches what he sought in a fairly satis- 
factory way it is because he bore an ideal in mind 
until it was realised. Now suppose he persists until 
he becomes a ** crank" and is oblivious of any ideal 
except his own peculiar hobby. Then his only sal- 
vation lies in becoming equally energetic in some 
new line of thought which shall restore mental 

Again, let us picture the conduct of one who, 
aware of the power of thought, and convinced that 
happiness and misery depend on ourselves, deter- 
mines to hold only those thoughts in habitual con- 
sciousness which shall contribute to good health and 
a wisely useful life. To think wisely, healthfully, 
sanely^ this is our idealist's deep desire. To take 

The Power of Thought 165 

the most philosophical attitude toward life, this is 
his ultimate intent. How does he proceed? 

Let a person offend him, or say some unkind 
word to which he would formerly have replied with 
some expression equally unkind. He now argues 
that if he "pays the person back in his own coin" 
he thereby descends to the level of the one who has 
abused him; he attracts thoughts like his abuses, 
and gets trouble out of the experience in proportion 
as he enters into it. Accordingly, he seeks some 
charitable interpretation of the affair. He reasons 
that the person will receive sufficient punishment 
from the very memory of having uttered the unkind 
word, without his interference; and that probably 
the person would never have spoken unkindly had 
he or she reflected for a moment. He thinks of 
something good, something pleasant about the 
offender, and either expresses it or lets it efface the 
unpleasant memory. In a word, he controls his 
thought or passion without letting it control him. He 
is master of the situation and of his own state of 

Once more, let it be a friend in distress or one 
seriously ill. Our idealist does not permit himself 
to say, "How ill you look!" or **I am afraid you 
will have this or that malady," for such talk surely 
would not help the sufferer. The sufferer has fears 
and troubles enough without the contributions of 
would-be friends. Nor does our wise idealist enter 
into and discuss the trouble, its symptoms and 
causes. He realises that whatever he says is likely 

1 66 Health and the Inner Life 

to have some effect, perhaps a powerful effect, on 
the troubled listener, and that the effect must be 
beneficialy or he had better maintain silence. What- 
ever he can say that is hopeful, confident, trustful, 
and destined to give the perplexed friend a broader 
view of the situation will tend to create a healthier, 
more helpful atmosphere, in which both may share. 
He recollects that deep within every human being 
there is a soul, a spirit, capable of rising and assert- 
ing its supremacy, and that whenever a person is in 
despair it is because this spirit is inactive; it is 
morbid or one-sided in its view. To speak the word 
which shall quicken this dormant spirit to conscious- 
ness of its possibilities — this is the way to be most 
surely and immediately helpful. Once stir the spirit 
or the thought into activity in a wise direction, and 
it will gain impetus as it acts, it will draw to it its 
affinities, and grow strong by exercise of its own 
powers. Thought is a power that one may trust. 
It is a silent, ever-active servant, tending to bring 
all the mental life into correspondence with the 
clear-cut decisions, the calm trust, and the persist- 
ent ideal of the thinker whose agent it is. 

Such, in brief outline and conservatively stated, 
are the elementary considerations which have led 
the way to mental-healing convictions. A word in 
conclusion seems necessary in order to guard against 
the confusions of language and the extravagant 
claims which often mar mental-healing theories. It 
by no means follows, for example, that "thought 
is omnipotent." Without a self to make use of 

The Power of Thought 167 

thought, thought would have neither existence nor 
power. The utmost one can say is that the divine 
thought, or creative world-plan, is the permanent 
object of the greatest Power. Obviously, one must 
distinguish between the divine universe, existing in 
order and degree, and the universe as man ordinarily 
thinks about it. Scientific or philosophic thought 
about the world would, of course, take precedence 
over lawless thought. Hence the passing opinions 
of men assume a relatively low rank. Man may 
imagine the world to be whatever he will; no 
thought of his can change its eternal order. Each 
substance, plant, or animal has its place, its quality, 
in the divine order, independent of the ** subcon- 
scious suggestions of the race." That man, by 
taking thought, may temporarily alter the effect of 
substances which are taken into his system, is 
another matter. 

Again, there are natural conditions of existence 
which the wise man will conform to, whatever his 
belief concerning the power of thought, within its 
proper sphere. To attempt to ** demonstrate over*' 
these conditions is to tamper with life itself. On 
the other hand, he who first ascertains what the 
natural conditions are for a person of his temper- 
ament, may very well increase his efficiency by the 
power of thought. For example, a man can learn 
to rest and sleep more reposefuUy, live more mod- 
erately. When the sensation of fatigue warns him 
that he is approaching the usual limits of his power 
of work, he may by taking thought acquire a wiser 

1 68 Health and the Inner Life 

art of work, learn to labour more temperately. 
Many of our diseases spring primarily from excess 
in some form. The disease, then, is Nature's les- 
son. A hint to the wise is sufficient. 

To allege that "thoughts are forces," or ** vibra- 
tions," or to say, with Prentice Mulford, that 
** thoughts are things," is to confuse the inner life 
with the natural world. Forces are, properly 
speaking, natural, such as heat, light, electricity. 
Thoughts may, indeed, be followed by ** vibra- 
tions," but a vibration is obviously a mode of 
motion of energy. Thought may picture, repre- 
sent, infer, or construct: it is volition that carries 
thought into execution. Corresponding to the 
volitional activity, there are, of course, many forms 
of physiological force and vibratory motion. But 
there is no basis of fact for the assertion that 
thought is the entire affair — image, affirmation, 
volition, brain-response, force, ** thing," and all. 

Nor would it even be correct to declare that man 
is the sum of his past thoughts. That would imply 
that there was no divine spark to begin with, no 
soul or self, and no will. There is obviously a de- 
cided difference between thought as merely con- 
templated and thought followed by action. It is a 
great consolation to discover that most of our 
thoughts are superficial and impotent. It b not 
until an idea wins our attention, becomes the object 
of will, that it is followed by efficient activity ; and 
it is plainly the ensuing activity that constitutes 
"the power" of thought, not the mere thought 

The Power of Thought 169 

itself. Hence we need not be concerned with the 
thoughts that have not been consciously or subcon- 
sciously followed by productive activity. 

It is not, then, our previous thinking that has 
made us what we are, but our previous action^ 
founded on the basis of what we originally were as 
souls. The soul both thinks and wills, contemplates 
and selects. Sometimes, no doubt, ideas fairly take 
possession of us. But for the most part it is our 
own character that decides, and character expresses 
itself fundamentally in will; it is much more than 
mere * ' thought habit. " It is persistent activity, sent 
out in a chosen direction, that originates habit; 
and thought is the image or plan which we put be- 
fore us. Hence it would be superficial and mislead- 
ing to reduce man to a collection of thoughts. 

These discriminations are of vital import for all 
who are interested in the practical bearings of "the 
power of thought/' To allege that ** thought is 
omnipotent," or to reduce will and the soul to a 
collection of ** thought habits," is to open the way 
for the most extravagant assertions in regard to 
human power, to arouse the false hopes which were 
once so popular in the mental-healing world. On 
the other hand, to assign thought to its proper sphere 
is by no means to lose sight of the fundamental prin- 
ciples of mental healing. Within its sphere the 
limits of therapeutic thought have never been dis- 
covered. But mental therapeutists have not been 
content to keep thought within its sphere; hence 
the bitter disappointments of those who have been 

I70 Health and the Inner Life 

forced to learn that there are other powers in the 

The moral of our tale, then, is not that thought 
can have its own way and actually create its world, 
but that man can seem to make the world what it is 
not, by objectifying his thoughts. To discover this 
fact is, with Mr. Quimby, to learn how man has 
**made his own happiness and misery.'' The infer- 
ence to be drawn is that, having learned the source 
of his errors, man should seek the truth, begin the 
herculean task of getting his own thoughts out of 
the way, that he may learn what life really is. If 
thought has been a power for ill it can now be- 
come a power for good. First of all, it must take its 
clues from experience, not impose its views on expe- 
rience. It must start with facts, discover laws, and 
build in accordance with those laws. Its own facts 
are, of course, to be included. But chief among 
those is the fact that will is fundamental, that it is 
the thoughts which are permitted to become ends 
of action that are really consequential. Hence what 
is needed is wise choice, followed by right thinking 
and by right conduct. 

The first step in the discovery of **our actual 
situation in life" is, no doubt, to become aware of 
the power of thought, that is, of the power of opin- 
ions, beliefs, fears, mental influences and atmos- 
pheres, mental pictures and subconscious reactions. 
But the great discovery is the power of the Spirit. 
Hence the reconstruction of theory and life which 
these discoveries call for is not to be made in mental 

The Power of Thought 171 

but in spiritual terms. Now, when it is a question 
of our relationship with the Spirit, the great con- 
sideration is receptivity, a willing attitude, followed 
by co-operative activity. All thought is secondary 
to the attitude or ''prevailing love" from which it 
springs. One may affirm thought and build specu- 
lative structures without number, and all to no avail 
until one actually adopts a different spirit. Since 
conduct, not theory, is fundamental, the prime need 
is the cultivation of the mode of life which is most 
in keeping with the promptings of the Spirit. This 
means the acquirement of self-control, equanimity, 
poise. It implies a philosophy of adjustment, not 
a doctrine of denial ; a theory of spiritual evolution, 
not an assumption of present perfection. If the 
apparent situation has been created by our thought, 
the real situation must now be discovered through 
our faithfulness. It is the life that tells in the long 
run, and to live the life man finds it necessary to 
take the clue from the universe which the Spirit 
builds by a purpose far transcending any will of his 



AS already intimated, the subject of healing is by 
far the most difficult aspect of the teaching 
with which we are here concerned. In the first 
place, the theory means very little save to those 
who have had the therapeutic experience. In the 
second place, the terminology in which one is in- 
clined to describe the experience is often vague, 
inexact, bordering upon the mystical, involving 
manifold religious and philosophical problems. The 
somewhat mystical language seems to be demanded 
in order to describe, or at least suggest, the experi- 
ence. Yet nothing mystical is meant in the vague 
sense of the word. The doctrine is through and 
through practical, and a definite mental process is 
implied. The only resource seems to be to state the 
doctrine and describe the experience as one is in- 
clined, trusting that the empirical and religious 
values will be appreciated, and that the method of 
healing will become concrete for those who put it to 
the test. It is obviously of far more consequence to 
describe the experience for what it may be worth 
than to be so concerned lest one fall into pantheistic 
speech as to neglect the real value of the doctrine, 


Spiritual Healing 173 

There is very little in the manuscripts of Mr. 
Quimby and his immediate followers that will be of 
service in this connection, hence we must depend 
upon our own resources. Accordingly, a part of 
what follows is revised and condensed from a little 
volume issued a few years ago under the title. 
Methods and Problems of Spiritual Healing. The 
object of that book was to raise questions and stim- 
ulate inquiry. The purpose of the revision is to put 
in permanent form the ideas and descriptions of 
experience which best exemplify the teaching which 
was developed out of Mr. Quimby's pioneer 
work in this field. So far as allowance must be 
made for the personal equation, the exposition is 
from the point of view of one who has not for many 
years been in the practice of healing, but whose in- 
terest has been the development of the practical and 
philosophical implications of the healing experience. 
The exposition is necessarily somewhat superficial 
at first, and only gradually approaches the heart of 
the experience, which one would like to convey by 
some miracle, inasmuch as language so often fails. 

I. In the first place, one is constrained to admit 
the sense of wonder which attaches to the entire 
process, even after one has made it the study of 
years. The subject is, in fact, much like that of 
any specific attempt to wrest from the universe 
every detail of one of its secrets — something always 
escapes us. When Nature awakes from her long 
winter's sleep, and everything expands and grows 
in the light of the warm summer's sun, what causes 

174 Health and the Inner Life 

this marvellous change — can anybody tell? The 
scientific man may enumerate the steps whereby 
the great transformation takes place, just as he may 
analyse the physical basis of life. But what is the 
dormant life itself, what is the hidden force without 
which the nicely adapted substances are mere collec- 
tions of chemicals? Apparently we know a great 
deal about every factor except the one which some- 
how animates and uses them all. 

Likewise with the phenomena of healing. One 
may easily describe the general conditions of heal- 
ing, the experience of "becoming open to spiritual 
power," of directing this power to the patient 
through concentration or suggestion, as well as the 
physiological process accompanying the mental 
change. But are we not a bit hasty when, neglect- 
ing the real point at issue, we confidently affirm 
that one factor in particular has wrought the cure? 
This favourite factor of ours — faith, auto-suggestion, 
telepathy, "the prayer of silence," or what not — 
like that of a drug heralded as a great specific, may 
have been but the last in a long chain of helpful 
causes, which played only the culminating part. 
Or, the case might have been like that mentioned by 
Dr. Hillis in a sermon on healing: 

" In Iowa a gentleman at whose home a reception was 
given wheeled out to the porch the chair of his mother, 
who had not taken a step for many years. During the 
gayeties of the evening a hanging lamp fell with a crash 
to the floor. When the flames had been subdued and 

Spiritual Healing 175 

quiet restored, the mother was found standing in the 
room, having lost her rheumatism and her pain. Years 
before nature had cured the ailment; but the woman 
waited for some event or person to rouse the dormant 
will. Had some scientist or faith healer or theosophist 
happened along, a cure almost miraculous would have 
lent the healer great fame." 

Obviously, the question of credit must be set 
aside, for at best the healer is but an agent of the 
therapeutic power. **We amuse the patient, while 
nature heals the disease," said a wise French phy- 
sician, speaking for his profession. Admittedly, the 
therapeutic experience is rich in problems and in- 
terests. In order to return a full answer to the 
question. What is it that heals? one must take into ac- 
count the entire theory of the omnipresent Wisdom, 
the idealistic interpretation of human experience, 
the higher faculties of the human soul, and the 
subtler mental influences which the therapeutic ex- 
perience brings into view. But even then the ac- 
count would be incomplete, for the point of view 
is confessedly that of the inner life, whereas there is 
much to be said in regard to the resident forces 
and instincts of the physical organism. There is, 
in fact, no brief answer to the question. 

Our best course will be to consider a number of 
typical cases and examine them in detail, in order 
to discover the various factors. We at once con- 
clude that the day of mere generalisation has passed. 
For example, diseases can no more be classed under 

176 Health and the Inner Life 

one head as "errors of the mind" than as physical 
''entities." If disease were simply a "belief," 
another belief might easily destroy it. If it were 
defined, as a mental-healing devotee once defined it, 
as "wrong thinking," its cure would, of course, be 
"right thinking." In diseases of the imagination 
this may be true. But if, in general, beliefs were 
sufficient causes, how soon we would think ourselves 
out of existence ! We have fears enough in a day 
to put ourselves through all the ills of life, if by 
simply believing we had them we could create them. 
Some diseases may have as little foundation in 
truth as the suggestions which caused the death of 
the English criminal in the instance so often referred 
to, and some diseases may be cured by simple sug- 
gestion. On the other hand, a man's entire mode 
of life may be involved, so that nothing less than 
a complete change of thought and conduct will 
suffice. It is clear that one must admit all the facts 
which the regular physician would describe as the 
symptoms and physical conditions of disease, as 
well as the states and influences upon which the 
mental therapeutist places stress. The physician 
deems the physical facts so important that, as a 
rule, he defines disease as physical, and regards the 
condition of mind as a sort of secondary accompani- 
ment. The mental practitioner usually lays so much 
stress on the state of mind that he regards the bodily 
disorder as an "effect." But the rational mind- 
curer is as ready to acknowledge the one set of facts 
as the other. It is precisely because disease is far 

spiritual Healing 177 

more than a ** belief," and despite the fact that it 
is often chiefly physical, that he claims to have 
wrought such wonderful cures. It is because he 
finds a subconscious condition that is fundamental 
to the physical disorder that he is able to reach 
cases where other methods have failed. Having 
admitted all the facts, he reserves the right to inter- 
pret them in his own way. He then defines disease 
as a state of the whole individual — beliefs, fears, 
sensations, subconscious conditions, habits, disposi- 
tions, and physical conditions being included under 
this general definition. 

To say with some mental therapeutists that 
"germs are thoughts" is to be as fanciful as to de- 
clare that disease is due to obsession. Any notion 
concerning disease, such as the theory that it springs 
from a disordered stomach, is of slight moment, inas- 
much as the student of the inner life seeks a more 
fundamental cause. That some diseases may have 
a certain course to run is also a minor matter, 
although it is interesting to note that the stages 
succeed one another more rapidly under mental 
treatment. Whether germs or other contagious 
elements have played their part or not is not now 
the question. Of greater consequence is the fact 
that a susceptible person is more readily cured of a 
severe malady than an obstinate individual is re- 
lieved of some slight ailment. The attempt to trace 
an exact series of "mental causes" for all diseases 
has failed because it is not so much a question of 
these alleged causes upon which mental therapeutists 

178 Health and the Inner Life 

place stress as of the individual life in which they 
are grounded. If neither the disease nor its cure 
can be described apart from the temperamental his- 
tory of the individual, one may very well forego all 
generalisation in favour of minute study of the most 
interior conditions. 

Let us, then, take a typical case and consider the 
factors of cure in the patient. Our typical sufferer 
is troubled, we will say, by some malady which 
originated, among other conditions, through nerv- 
ous shock, fear, haunting mental pictures, or other 
psychical event which threw the inner life into dis- 
cord. The first disturbance was very likely of slight 
consequence, and might have arisen either from 
without or from within ; but through misinterpreta- 
tion of the sensation of pain, lack of self-control, 
and ignorance of inner resources it has been de- 
veloped into a serious affair. It is also probable 
that the disease is one which the regular physician 
confesses his inability to cure. For usually those 
who make trial of the mental cure turn to it as a last 
resort. They have lost faith in drugs and physical 
methods of treatment, and this is an advantage in 
favour of the mental therapeutist. They are uncer- 
tain in regard to the new method, but are at least 
willing to test it. This is also an aid, for receptiv- 
ity makes the healer's task easier. Some, indeed, 
try the mental method merely to please their friends, 
or simply as an experiment. Receptivity is not an 
absolute essential, and some of the most notable 
cures have been wrought where there was no faith 

Spiritual Healing 179 

at the outset. Again^ men have been cured of the 
drink habit, for example, who were unaware that 
they were receiving mental treatment. But con- 
scious receptivity and faith are usually factors, and 
if such conditions are lacking there must at least be 
unconscious receptivity, affinity, or willingness of 
some sort. In many cases there is, no doubt, sub- 
conscious co-operation. 

Receptivity, then, we may set down as ordinarily 
the most potent factor on the patient's part. The 
sufferer's temperament, as we have briefly noted, is 
another factor. From the intuitive healer's point of 
view, patients are found to vary all the way from 
those who present a solid front of rigidity such that 
they dispute every inch of the way, to those who 
are so pliable that one must avoid giving too long 
or too powerful a treatment. Children are ordinarily 
very receptive. The same is true of elderly people. 
A healer once said of an aged woman that he had 
merely to "point his finger at her, as it were," in 
order to help her mentally. On the other hand, a 
combative person, one who raises objections from 
first to last, is likely to present a mental atmosphere 
which is no less difficult to overcome. An ex- 
tremely ** hard-headed" man once received treatment 
from three successful therapeutists without respond- 
ing in the least to their most positive work. In 
general, the degree of receptivity, and consequently 
the character of the mental atmosphere which the 
intuitive healer discerns, varies with the type of 
individual, the organism, and the habit of life. 

i8o Health and the Inner Life 

Further, the same conditions of social relationship 
obtain in the interior world as in the general world 
of ordinary experience. The same laws and affini- 
ties also hold. A person to whom one would not 
naturally become receptive in ordinary acquaint- 
anceship would be undesirable as a mental healer. 
The same good sense that preserves us from cranks 
and from the unprincipled will guard the mind from 
all that is objectionable in the inner world if we are 
equally on the alert. The instances are extremely 
few where a superior person has been made more 
ill by becoming receptive to an inferior healer. 
Furthermore, the sort of receptivity here described 
is not openness to personal influence, for that might 
be a mere mixture of atmospheres ; it is readiness 
to be healed by the power of the Spirit. 

Doubtess auto-suggestion in the form of expectant 
attention is often a factor. The healer requests the 
new patient to take a comfortable physical attitude 
and endeavour to become receptive. Explanations 
are also made in regard to the results that may be 
expected. Doubtless, too, the receptivity is akin 
to hypnosis, which is described by Dr. H. A. Parkyn 
as '*a state of mental quiescence in which the sug- 
gestion of the operator has an exaggerated effect on 
the mind of the subject." In such a state even the 
absurd denials of the Christian Scientist, e.g.^ "You 
have no headache," "You have no head," are as 
effective as gospel truth if the mind accepts them. 
But the analogy soon ceases when we compare 
hypnotism with spiritual healing. The spiritual 

Spiritual Healing i8i 

therapeutist is eager above all else to establish the 
truth. Hence there is no desire either to deny facts 
or to take advantage of the patient's receptivity. 

In many cases the desire to be healed is a factor 
so favourable that the patient can well afford to take 
advantage of the advice given by the healer in re- 
gard to receptivity and mental co-operation. Occa- 
sionally the patient's faith is sufficient to accomplish 
a large part of the work. Sometimes a patient will 
write for "absent help" at a time when the thera- 
peutist is unable to meet the appointment, but so 
familiar is the patient with the requirements that 
the right conditions will be observed and relief will 
come without aid from any other source. Again, 
former patients will ask leave to come occasionally 
to sit in the chair where they have received treat- 
ment, as they then found it easier to become self- 
helpful. Ideally speaking, to become as receptive 
as a little child is to be ready to be healed of any 
trouble. Again, the recipient of spiritual help 
ought to be able to respond as readily to spiritual 
truth as the injured animal to the healing power of 
nature, the hypnotic subject to the suggestions of 
the operator, or the credulous person to the thera- 
peutic assertions of the abstract mental healer. As 
matter of fact, however, the conditions become 
more complex as we ascend the scale of intelligence. 
Receptivity is by no means the determining factor 
in the majority of cases. There is no reason for the 
assumption sometimes made that all healing is really 

1 82 Health and the Inner Life 

2. When we have given credit to the factors of 
cure in the patient — desire to be healed, faith, re- 
ceptivity, auto-suggestion, and the rest — what shall 
we say of those cases in which all this is insufficient, 
and the patient is restored to health through the 
agency of a spiritual healer? Let us return to our 
typical case of the person who, receptive and will- 
ing, but unable to do more than aid the restorative 
process in a very slight way, comes for silent treat- 
ment. What are the factors on the healer's side? 

In the first place, there is desire to heal, sympathy, 
a longing to play one's part in nature's wonder- 
ful process. The healer has also been a sufferer, 
has found relief by mental means, and grown into 
knowledge of spiritual power. He knows, too, 
what it is to be in bondage to fear, to physical con- 
ditions, and physical remedies. He is not a believer 
in disease as an entity that is liable to seize upon 
the organism from without, regardless of an invit- 
ing condition springing from an inner cause. He 
believes that suffering is neither an affliction nor a 
necessity, but a condition brought about through 
ignorance, wrong modes of thought and life; and 
that one may learn to meet life so as to avoid illness 
altogether. He therefore regards the problem of 
disease as part of the general problem of life, de- 
pending for its solution upon a changed mental 
attitude such that an experience which might once 
have seemed a curse will prove a blessing. Accord- 
ingly, he aims to bring about a wiser attitude on the 
part of the patient. 

Spiritual Healing 183 

This result is usually accomplished in part through 
audible explanation : for example, if the patient is 
uncharitable, or is suffering from suppressed grief. 
But almost invariably the process of cure begins 
with the silent treatment, and explanations are not 
made until after the first few sittings. Again, much 
light is often thrown upon the case by the patient's 
own account of it. But it is not usual to permit the 
patient to narrate the case at will. To rehearse 
the symptoms and describe the details is to refresh 
the troubles, fears, and mental pictures connected 
with the illness. The past is passed, and the patient 
should be concerned solely with the present and the 
future. But when the healer has intuitively diag- 
nosed the case and discerned the inner causes, the 
patient can often be questioned with profit. 

If intuitive, then, the healer asks no questions at 
first and makes few explanations. The patient has 
come in the willing attitude already described. The 
healer sits near the patient and asks him to become 
quiet and receptive, in a comfortable position. The 
patient is not to force himself to be still, but simply 
to be restfully expectant, dismissing as far as possi- 
ble all thought of the past, without fear that there 
is anything uncanny or mysterious in the treatment. 

The healer then turns away in thought from the 
external world, excludes consciousness of sensation 
as far as possible, and for the moment is even ob- 
livious of the patient's presence. For the mind 
must first be prepared, consecrated afresh, before 
seeking light upon the case at hand. The moment 

1 84 Health and the Inner Life 

of consecration is akin to prayer or worship, as if 
the soul ascended a mountain from which the en- 
tire world could be surveyed. As a rule, those who 
find difficulty in concentrating must discipline them- 
selves in the various stages of "ascent." But after 
a time it is matter of habit to detach the conscious- 
ness from all that is mundane and send it aloft, as 
it were, in aspiration. The entire philosophy of 
the omnipresent Wisdom here comes into play. 
That Wisdom is, of course, ever with the soul await- 
ing recognition. Any elevating thought, such as 
the realisation of the divine love and care, enables 
the mind to renew the sense of relationship with 
God. One does not, of course, try to use the 
power of the Spirit, but rather to put the soul in an 
attitude such that it will partake of the wisdom that 
is ever ready to shine, manifest the power that is 
ever ready to guide and to heal. It is well not to 
commit oneself to a set formula, for it is the spirit, not 
the form, that is essential. Yet oftentimes the same 
realisation, such as **In him we live and move and 
have our being,*' is the most helpful means of uplift- 
ment ; and the healer frequently turns to the patient 
in the same spirit of command: ''Peace, be still! '* 

The first essential, then, is to absent oneself from 
the world of physical sensation, and enter into re- 
newed realisation of the inmost life of the soul. To 
help a soul in bondage one must rise above the 
level of mere sympathetic interchange, however 
close the affinity with the patient. For the mo- 
ment, therefore, one can well afford to forget the 

Spiritual Healing 185 

life here below and enter into the spiritual world. 
To enter that world once more is to feel a sense of 
power, of freedom and joy, and of enlargement, as 
if one were entering into harmony with every living 
thing. Then the sentiment of worship becomes 
more particularly a prayer for guidance for the 
present case. The remainder of the experience 
takes its clue from this specific consecration. 

Having once more entered into the higher realm 
of the spiritual life and become centred there, one is 
in a position to turn in thought to the needy soul in 
an attitude of command, ready to utter the word of 
power. If one could maintain this ideal attitude 
with great calmness and firmness it would scarcely 
be necessary to give specific attention to the pa- 
tient's problem. But until the sense of union with 
the spiritual world becomes very strong it is neces- 
sary to give attention to various stages of the ther- 
apeutic experience, and adopt various methods, all 
of which may be regarded as introductory. 

In the first place, the intuitive healer discovers 
his clue by coming in contact with the "atmos- 
phere" of the patient. It is this atmosphere more 
than anything else that reveals the inmost condition 
of the organism, the interior mental causes, and the 
temperamental attitude. The atmospheres vary 
according to the case and according to the condition 
of the patient at different times. The ability to 
read and to be guided by the atmosphere, of course, 
develops with experience, and the more acute the 
healer's insight into it the more likely is he to adapt 

1 86 Health and the Inner Life 

the treatment to the actual needs of the patient. 
Whether the treatment shall be soothing or posi- 
tive, long or short, depends also upon the clue 
which the atmosphere gives, the response which is 
aroused when the healer turns in thought towards 
the sufferer. 

In the endeavour to bring life and power to the 
patient, there is no attempt to transfer thought to 
the patient's consciousness, no attempt to control 
the patient's mind. The thought, whatever it may 
be, serves rather to give definiteness to the healer's 
realisation, to absorb and direct the consciousness ; 
it is the spiritual activity thus made concrete that is 
of consequence. In the case of one who, for ex- 
ample, presents an excited, nervous atmosphere, it 
is the healer's province to bring down a gentle, 
soothing atmosphere which shall still the troubled 
sea of nervous activity, and from which the patient 
shall absorb according to his need. The imagina- 
tion is, of course, serviceable in this connection, 
and naturally there is a tendency or current of 
thought playing round about the central idea and 
filling it out into completeness of realisation. But 
it is the dynamic attitude, the fundamental activity, 
which directly affects the patient. To give central- 
ity to this activity is to be able to play one's humble 
part in a wonderful process which is very far from 
being merely personal, or merely mental. The 
spiritual healer is not, then, himself the all-power- 
ful mind or factor ; he is the willing instrument of 
the higher Power. His first desire is to become 

Spiritual Healing 187 

spiritually receptive and free, and then to turn in 
thought to the patient that the same freedom may 
be shared or bestowed. 

If, therefore, one uses certain passages of Script- 
ure in order to maintain the thought in the right 
direction it should be remembered that the words 
are only a stepping-stone to a higher consciousness. 
It is not the word or thought that is the reality ; it 
is the living essence which the word or thought sug- 
gests. That essence or Spirit is ever with us. God 
is here within, inseparable from the soul; and when 
the soul feels the divine presence it possesses the 
essence itself and has no need of words. 

The first step, let me repeat, is to direct the con- 
sciousness toward the omnipresent Spirit, to become 
peaceful, quiet, poised, master of the situation ; then, 
when one is thus open and free, to turn to the suf- 
ferer, carrying the same gentle yet strong and 
stimulating influence, enveloping him with an at- 
mosphere so powerful that no inharmonious con- 
dition either of mind or body can long withstand it. 
It is well established that the power thus directed 
towards the patient meets resistance where the 
sufferer is in discord ; that is, the organism is free, 
responsive, except in particular regions; there the 
healing power meets an obstacle. Nature is trying 
to restore equilibrium, and meets opposition at this 
restricted point. Even if one knows nothing about 
the patient's trouble at the outset, the healing ex- 
perience will soon reveal the location of it, because 
one's consciousness, directed toward the patient, 

1 88 Health and the Inner Life 

will meet this obstruction, and the healing power 
will bear down upon it until gradually the condition 
begins to change. The thought of the healer directs 
the power where it is most needed, and holds it there 
persistently, with the idea, of course, that the con- 
dition is gradually changing, that the patient is 
giving up his fears, haunting mental pictures, and 
painful consciousness of sensation, and becoming 
open to the healing power. This is continued until 
an impression is made, until enough has been ac- 
complished to start the right reaction, and then the 
work continues subconsciously after the treatment 
is finished. 

The healer, then, is like the person with good 
sight who offers kindly assistance to a blind man. 
The man with good sight sees the way open before 
him as he proceeds, and therefore steps along con- 
fidently. And in this same spirit of confidence one 
should guide the sufferer because one knows the 
way, because of what one knows about the human 
mind, the power of thought, the nature of disease, 
and the rich possibilities of our spiritual existence. 
One should not dwell upon symptoms and doubts, 
but see the outcome, think of the patient as he ought 
to be, in good health, poised, calm, and strong. One 
should be stronger in the right direction than the 
sufferer is in the other, penetrating persistently to 
the very core of the disturbance, opening it out and 
expanding it, until the new life is started up with a 
thrill throughout the organism. 

3. Here the question arises. Does the healer 

spiritual Healing 189 

really open the mind to an external power which is 
then directed toward the patient, or is this power 
resident in the healer? Or, assuming that there is a 
definite suggestion given, or a thought transferred 
to the patient, does this thought simply quicken 
the dormant healing power in the patient? Prob- 
ably many healers would maintain that power or life 
is actually absorbed from without by the healer. 
At any rate, a state of mind is aroused which it 
is desirable for the patient to receive the benefit 
of subconsciously. Whether there be a definite 
thought process, or simply the consciousness of 
concentrating power toward the patient, the result 
is evidently the same ; that is, the thought probably 
does not travel : it is the motion or vibration which 
is transferred, probably through a substance finer 
than the ether in which our minds are bathed. And 
if the healing power is omnipresent there is no ques- 
tion of outside and inside, the essential being the 
establishment of a centre of activity of that power 
in the patient. 

We may then consider the healing power as po- 
tentially resident in both healer and patient. It 
may even be in a state of tension in the patient — 
the natural tendency of the organism to right itself 
— the pain being a sign that this tendency is inter- 
fered with by wrong treatment, fear, nervousness, 
the effort to bear the pain. The spiritual treatment 
removes this opposition, and co-operates with nature 
by giving the mind a healthier direction and hasten- 
ing the activity of the healing power. 

igo Health and the Inner Life 

It is essential to remember that there is a higher 
nature craving expression, a latent ideal toward 
which the powers of our being are persistently 
striving. If the patient is unaware of this evolu- 
tionary process, this tendency toward the perfect, 
the power is resisted and confined, and suffering 
results. If one is undeveloped on the affectional 
side of one's nature, if the intellect is uncultivated, 
or if one is in need of physical exercise, then this 
undeveloped or one-sided region is the seat of cre- 
ative activity. Nature is striving through us to real- 
ise a type, to actualise a rounded-out ideal. She is 
irresistibly persistent in this endeavour, and if she 
cannot make an impression upon us by gentle means 
she must resort to something vigorous or painful. 
There is a sort of natural rhythm of development, 
like the steady rise and fall of the steamer over the 
waves of mid-ocean. Those who are well rounded 
out move with it. Those who are unfinished in 
any particular meet it with resistance. The ef- 
fort, therefore, both in helping another and in 
self-help, should be to co-operate with this natural 
process. This may be done by trying to picture the 
spiritual ideal. Dismiss the thought of yourself as 
you have been, and hold in mind the rounded-out 

All this, of course, relates to the secondary pro- 
cess, that which is more accurately describable as 
natural and mental. In so far as it is a question of 
the spiritual factor one does not assume to control 
or direct that. One is aware that one dwells in a 

Spiritual Healing 191 

purer region, that a higher life-giving Power is pre- 
sent. To the extent that one feels this ennobling 
Life it is not a question of here or there, or of 
communication of life as if one were the originative 
agent. It is rather a question of ''wonder, love, 
and praise." Hence one reserves a place for the 
higher phase of the experience under the head of 
values, worths, ideals. Into that ideal region mere 
science cannot enter. It is not a time for cold 
analysis, but for silence and receptivity, recognition 
and co-operation. 

4. But how, you ask, does this realisation of the 
divine ideal and of the soul's oneness with God 
reach or affect the patient and produce a correspond- 
ing state? Probably the best illustration of this 
secondary phase of the therapeutic experience is its 
comparison with the transfer of sound vibration. 
When two pianos are in adjoining rooms, if a note 
on one is struck the corresponding chord on the 
other will vibrate. Likewise in human speech. 
The will or desire on my part to communicate with 
you causes my ideas to take shape in language 
which you understand, a process is set up in my 
brain, transmitted to the vocal cords, and thus by 
vibration to your ear, and finally to your conscious- 
ness. Your understanding of what I say is precisely 
dependent on the attention which you give to it, 
the receptivity to it, and the sympathy of experi- 
ence. If you have entered the silence and com- 
muned with God, you know what I mean. If not, 
my words convey little or nothing to you ; for it is 

192 Health and the Inner Life 

the experience or consciousness which counts, not 
the words. 

Now, in the healing process the communication is 
very much simplified, although still of a vibratory 
character. You are receptive, and need help; and 
I desire to help you. We sit down together and 
enter into sympathy mentally. I do not try to 
force my thought upon you, but you give me your 
attention. The sympathy between us has annihi- 
lated space; and as I turn aside from the outer 
world and rise to the plane of spiritual silence or 
divine communion, your mind consciously or sub- 
consciously receives the benefit of my realisation, 
through this sympathetic receptivity. You may 
feel nothing at the time, but work has been done. 
A seed has been sown in the subconscious mind, 
where it will germinate and do good. In other 
words, work has been done, the healing power 
h^s been directed to the disturbed region, and the 
results will be consciously made known in due 

Mentally speaking, the essential is the ideal direc- 
tion of consciousness, with the accompanying activ- 
ity. To transfer the attention is to focus the 
activities around the newly chosen centre, hence to 
redirect the subconscious life. The conscious part 
is the establishment of the new dynamic attitude : 
the subconscious part is the consequent readjust- 
ment. Again, the conscious part may be character- 
ised as a question of placing allegiance. Shall we 
live in the consciousness of sensation, of self, in 

spiritual Healing 193 

memory of the past, in trouble, fear, worriment, in 
matter and circumstance? Or shall we dwell upon 
the end to be reached through all this process, the 
larger self, the spirit, the inner, the real, or eternal? 
Shall we seek the kingdom of heaven that all else 
may come, or seek first thingSy hoping that the 
kingdom may be added? The mind is limited in 
power and must choose, for there is literally no 
room both for trouble and for trust. Either I am 
to look upon myself as all-important and try to have 
things circulate about me^ or I am to regard the 
Spirit as first. To lose self that one may find it is, 
in fact, the essence of spiritual healing; for invari- 
ably there is too great consciousness of self when- 
ever there is illness and trouble. 

You may reply that you know it, that you would 
rise above sensation if you could ; but you have be- 
come lethargic, you have lost ambition, and seem 
unable to help yourself. Still the truth remains, 
that if you wish to be better you must make some 
effort y you must break away. And when this higher 
consciousness comes — the intuition of life's whole- 
ness, its beauty, its system, and meaning — there 
comes with it a sense of contentment, of joy in 
existence which nothing can destroy; and heart, 
mind, and body are healed by recognition of one's 
union with the spirit and love of God. 

5. There has been considerable discussion at vari- 
ous times in regard to what it is that heals. Some 
mental therapeutists have insisted that all cures 

grouped under the general head of mental healing 

i94 Health and the Inner Life 

are due to hypnotism. Others have declared that 
suggestion is the fundamental law, even in cases 
where the healer claimed to use purely ** spiritual" 
power. Still others have said that in spiritual healing 
there is neither hypnotism nor thought transference, 
that suggestion is not the prime factor, but ** spirit- 
ual power" does the work. There has been much 
dogmatism, and very little attempt to find a com- 
mon basis. Those who have practised hypnotic 
methods have claimed to know that there is nothing 
in spiritual healing which they do not experience ; 
while the spiritual healer has been equally sure that 
his work exemplifies a higher element. But a few 
simple considerations show that these representa- 
tives of opposing schools are not so far apart. 

It is undoubtedly true that there is a higher type 
of experience which the hypnotist and the merely 
mental healer do not enjoy.* It would be useless 
to deny that. It is only a question of finding the 
relationship between lower and higher methods. It 
is also clear from the foregoing that the various 
claims in regard to the power of merely human 
thought as the chief factor have been largely astray. 
The healer who says, " It is I who heal," and the 
one who insists that mere thought heals, have not 
yet begun to think fundamentally. For it is neces- 
sary, first of all, to insist that healing is a process 
of restoration of the natural organism, an organism 

* Hence the term ** spiritual healing" is inclusive of all that is 
meant by " mental healing," although exclusive of some of the con- 
ditions of hypnotism. 

spiritual Healing 195 

which exhibits laws far superior to anything which 
man has devised. 

The tendency to regain health is exceedingly 
strong. All the necessary powers are there. Heal- 
ing, then, let us repeat, is, in the first place, a 
natural process. It may be aided in many ways, but 
the process is the all-important thing. For the 
process is necessarily resident in the organism. If 
man followed nature as fully as the animals do, 
little outside help would be required. Most heal- 
ing methods of human devising are artifices invented 
to overcome the obstructions which man has reared. 
There is no reason to set up claims for one's self as 
a healer. Man ought to be glad that he has found 
a way out of the errors and faults into which he has 
fallen. Man ought to be ashamed to be ill, in view 
of the marvellous provisions of nature. 

But, in the next place, it should be willingly con- 
ceded that the general basis of merely mental treat- 
ment is the same. It is doubtful if any mental 
healer fully knows how he does his work. He has 
theories, but theories may have little relation to 
facts. The most he can say is that, in some won- 
derful way, a certain psychical activity on his part 
is a factor in a very much larger process which in- 
cludes manifold workings in the subconscious life. 
The psycho-physical process is probably the same in 
all kinds of mental treatment, from lowest to high- 
est. There is a communication from healer to 
patient. Call it ** vibration," if you will. Call it 
"suggestion," or telepathy. Some healers know 

196 Health and the Inner Life 

far more about the way in which the communication 
is made than others whose theories are no less posi- 
tive. But the chief thing is the communication, and 
the fact is that this aids nature in the removal of 
obstructions. Some sort of psycho-physical process 
in which the healer's activity plays a part is the 
common basis. This communication is found alike 
in hypnotic mental transference and in religious 

In addition to the psycho-physical process there 
may be an added religious element, so that the 
spiritual healer is right in his claims that a higher 
consciousness is at work. Granted the line of com- 
munication between healer and patient, the healer 
may attach himself to any current he likes. Granted 
the activity of a higher current, the entire healing 
experience takes on a higher character. But the 
point is, that this higher region is an added realms a 
realm of values and ideals. To one who holds these 
ideals, they are naturally all-important; and it is 
not for the hypnotist to say that the higher region 
does not exist, or that the higher consciousness 
plays no part. When he calmly stops to consider 
the matter, he cannot deny that the law is the same 
as that which all religious experience exemplifies. 
The question of fact is one point, the question of 
values is another." Precisely the same experience 
may be stated in terms of values or in terms of fact, 
in terms of religious experience or in strictly scien- 

' This distinction is of fundamental importance, if one is to dis- 
cern the empirical reality of mind-cure practice. 

spiritual Healing 197 

tific terms. It is possible to describe the average 
mental-healing experience without any reference to 
religious matters, and that description is true — as far 
as it goes. But it is equally true that for the one 
who is filled with religious consciousness a great 
many more things are also true. 

6. In religious terms, let us say, then, that true 
healing means to trust God more, to love more, to 
become at peace, to get out of self, to understand 
self. It comes by laying fear aside through aspira- 
tion, by becoming adjusted to the body and to 
one's environment. It is not mere personal influ- 
ence: it is helpfulness, it is love, it is sacred. It is 
not the giving of one's own strength and health. 
It does not exhaust. It is mutually helpful and re- 
newing to healer and patient. 

It is helpful for a group of people to sit in the 
silence, as though one should say to the rest: 
Peace, let us be still within, and commune with that 
Presence of which all life is a sharing, to which 
all conduct should be a helpful witness. Whatever 
calamity may come to us in the future, let it come 
when it must: it were better that we should not 
foreknow it. Each of you will probably go away 
from here when our silence is broken ; but at present 
why not lose all sense of time until the hour has 
come? This bit of existence is infinitely small and 
trivial ; but in some way it fits into the great uni- 
verse, and unites us with all that lives. Eternity is 
here as surely as anywhere or in any time. Life is 
a great unbroken whole; and from the centre of 

198 Health and the Inner Life 

each consciousness, as if it were the heart of being, 
the uplifting influences of thought and love extend 
to the uttermost confines of the whole. Each of us 
exists within, and yet is not identical with the Su- 
preme Spirit, so that for each He is personally the 
Father. For each He has provided in that won- 
derful way of perfect wisdom which establishes the 
limit, sees the end, implants the ideal, yet leaves 
freedom for all to think and have experience, free- 
dom to sin, until at last in the fulness of time we 
shall awaken from ignorance, learn the wisdom of 
experience, and choose the life of devotion to the 

From this present trouble of ours there is a way 
of escape. Self alone stands in the way. Yet even 
this is no ground for complaint. If we are rightly 
adjusted to the creative rhythm or process, we shall 
not be troubled by it longer than is necessary to 
teach us its lesson. Then let us be content. Let 
us drop fear and impatience in quiet trust and rest- 
fulness. Peace, be still ! There is nothing to fear. 
Nothing can come to us without receptivity or will- 
ingness on our part. We therefore hold the keys to 
our minds. We can accomplish everything through 
faith, with sufficient time. 

We are not responsible for the universe, nor for 
the lives of any of its people. We cannot fully 
explain our belief in the goodness of things; but 
the belief is there, and the only fault seems to be 
that we do not trust more. We cannot tell fully 
why we believe in God. It may seem audacious 

Spiritual Healing 199 

even to speak of Him as though we had penetrated 
life's secret far enough to describe our oneness with 
Him. But here again we apparently err only be- 
cause we do not live more in the thought of Him. 
This deep, fundamental basis of life is the perman- 
ent substance, or being, which goes forth as the 
word, or spirit, and expresses itself through all the 
changes of form, of space, and time. 

This present, passing experience — life as you and 
I live it — is such a going forth, partaking of the living 
essence of God. It does not proceed at random, 
but is directed by perfect wisdom and love. Every 
part is adjusted to every other part, and all parts 
are governed by the one central purpose which 
makes the universe a realm of law and order. That 
which guides and inspires is sufficient for all needs. 
There is no opposing power to break and mar the 
creative process. All is steady march. No fact, 
no experience, no thought, lies outside the whole. 
In each fact, each thought, the whole is reproduced 
in miniature. One need not travel to find the 
whole. But everywhere, in ever-changing forms 
and in ever-fresh experience, the one Law, the one 
Life, the one Spirit, or Wisdom, is again and again 



IT IS clear from the foregoing that it is extremely 
difficult to characterise the therapeutic experi- 
ence so that it shall seem real to one who has not 
already participated in it. Nearly always when such 
descriptions are given there are those who say 
that for them there is much that is intangible. Thus 
must it be until one has put the principle to the test 
and verified the method. The missing element is 
the empirical factor, the peculiar quality of the ex- 
perience. One should not expect to have this im- 
parted. The description is of the letter; it is the 
experience that is spiritual. All that a description 
can hope to achieve is to convey hints, as one might 
poetically set forth one's inmost sentiment respect- 
ing '*the everlasting realities of religion." Those 
realities may possess great intellectual value, and to 
this extent be subject to the most precise analysis. 
But their spiritual values are essentially matters of 
experience : one must enter the holy of holies and 
adore in order to know them. 

Probably in the majority of cases the method is 
first acquired by the aid of a mental process ; that 
is, the experimenter carries on a sort of argument, 


Methods of Healing 201 

or series of affirmations, with the general ideal of 
health in view. Here, for example, is an outline 
statement of such a method, from the lecture notes 
already referred to in Chapter V. After a few pre- 
liminary explanations, the exposition begins with 
the supposition that the healer is seated by the 
patient, the latter receptive, the former filled with 
the consciousness of "the truth of the patient's 
being'' ; and continues as follows: 

" Now suppose you realise that God is everywhere, 
therefore that He fills this room, surrounds the patient, 
even fills him without his knowing it. Then go on from 
that point to realise what God would be and feel in the 
patient's place — calm, without fear. Therefore, think of 
the patient as losing his fear, serene and at peace. . . . 
God is perfect health, therefore the patient is feeling the 
healing effect of His presence in every part of his being. 
God is perfect wisdom and action in every way, there- 
fore the patient is yielding to the better way, to the wis- 
dom that is coming in as a part of himself. Regard the 
patient as seeing for himself wherein he is weak and un- 
wise. See him realising the better way of perfect wis- 
dom, now coming into consciousness as his own thought 
of improvement. See this especially in so far as you 
may have learned wherein the patient has caused his 
trouble by unwisdom. 

'* Another way of thinking: Imagine God the Father, 
the eternal power, infinite wisdom and love, as a person 
looking more fully and consciously into the patient's 
mind [than you can look] and saying to him, * You are 
perfect in your physical design, and only interfere with 

202 Health and the Inner Life 

it by your undeveloped character and unwise ways and 
fears. Now have peace. Feel my perfect design in 
every organ and function. See everything within you as 
perfect. Your illness, your inharmony is only the result 
of your mistakes. Have peace. Let these errors go, 
and be at peace, and wiser. I am your wisdom, your 
very life and strength, your intelligence and power. Let 
me have you perfectly. Then your perfection will be 
gained in all ways, and on each plane of your being.* 

** Now what is the effect of these thoughts of yours ? 
Your patient has been gaining, and he will be conscious 
of the improvement later. ... He may have been 
thinking of his unwise conduct — that which caused his 
trouble or illness — and seeing the foolishness of such 
ways and thinking he will certainly be wiser. I have 
caused such thoughts many a time in the mind of a 
patient. Not that I thought precisely what he did, 
but that his thoughts resulted from my realisation: he 
saw in part for himself what I more fully realised for him. 

** Now is this practical or visionary? Let your own 
thought answer. God is our life and wisdom and power. 
He is living us and developing us all the time to be more 
like Him, that is, to become wiser and stronger indi- 
viduals, more loving and better in every way. . . . 
In the silent treatment there is much of that developing 
and growing in a short time. That new development is 
displacing the state of mind and body that was the 
patient's disease. . . . 

** When everything is arranged as here for a treatment 
— the recipient intentionally receptive and open, desiring 
help; and the sender positive, and thinking the kind of 
thoughts which of all others have the most power — work 
is sure to be done. . . . You cannot afford to doubt 

Methods of Healing 203 

it, and thus hinder an effect that must in a measure take 
place inevitably ... a result that is as inevitable 
as the sunshine from a luminary that cannot keep its 
sunshine back. . . . God's creatures must get it 
[spiritual help] unavoidably, and they cannot prevent it. 
That is why you cannot afford to doubt. The simple 
fact that you and your patient arrange for such work be- 
ing done shows that some effect will be inevitable. 
Minds together mingle, unavoidably. . . . If an in- 
telligent direction is given to the thought [the power] 
that is going to do the work, the result will be greater. 
In proportion to the patient's receptivity, also, and his 
confidence and faith in the power of this way of being 
helped, will the result be greater. . . . As a practi- 
tioner's understanding increases and his intuitions de- 
velop, and as he becomes active more and more on the 
Godward side of his work — out of himself and the hu- 
man way of thinking — so his effectiveness will increase." 

The intellect is likely to raise manifold objections 
to such a "realisation," on the ground that it in- 
volves a confusion of ideas. But such reflections 
are not meant to be formally defensible; there is 
no thought of possible pantheistic implications. 
The object is to absorb the consciousness in the 
thought of the divine presence, since no other real- 
isation is therapeutically so effectual. To one who 
enters fully into the spirit of such a reflection, God 
alone seems to exist. It is not strange, then, that 
one sometimes hears a spiritual healer say, in a voice 
filled with reverence, "It is all God." Strictly 
speaking, however, what is meant is that man is a 

204 Health and the Inner Life 

"medium of God," that he possesses no spiritual 
power wholly his own. For a moment, the con- 
sciousness of self is wholly in abeyance. For the 
moment, too, the idea of health is practically 
synonymous with that of perfection. What other 
meanings the idea of God may have are not now 
in question. The essential is to absorb mind and 
heart in one great uplifting realisation of the divine 

Obviously, the ability to enter into the fulness of 
such a consciousness depends upon the previous ac- 
ceptance of the theology implied in it. For there 
is a great difference between regarding oneself as a 
centre of life and power, and regarding man as at 
best a recipient of wisdom and love from "the giver 
of every perfect gift." This is a cardinal point in 
the doctrine of the present book. Mr. Quimby, as 
we have seen, took no credit to himself. In the 
chapter on "The Omnipresent Wisdom" we have 
seen that this principle is carried so far as to imply 
that man has no good quality of his own. This 
conclusion was taken wholly in earnest by the 
Quimby devotees, hence their good works. It 
leads to consecration, service, worship, hence to 
deeds of love. It is not strange, then, that out of 
the therapeutic belief and practice there grew an 
entire philosophy of life, taking its clue from this 
central and essentially Christian principle. 

Nor is it strange that most devotees of this teach- 
ing have found it far easier at first to help others 
by the silent method than to help themselves. The 

Methods of Healing 205 

therapeutic experience is primarily social rather 
than individual. It is a recognition not merely of 
our utter dependence upon God, but of the great 
truth that we are "members one of another." 
Hence the statement quoted above, that two people 
cannot sit down together, the one desiring help, the 
other longing to givje it, without producing a bene- 
ficial effect, has in many cases proved to be the 
clinching argument, the one that has encouraged the 
beginner to make trial of the method. 

Nevertheless, the same principle applies with 
equal force to the individual. If "God and one 
make a majority," to enter into conscious oneness 
with the Father is to experience the blessings of 
divine sonship. In order to make this realisation 
very vivid, one may regard one's higher self as the 
healer, one's disordered self as the patient, and ob- 
jectify the problem to be solved. In this way one 
may, for the time being, transcend the consciousness 
of sensation, lift all active thought to the higher 
level, and give oneself over to a detailed realisation 
of what it means to be a child of God. To do this 
in all humility and receptivity is in very truth to feel 
that the soul is at best merely an instrument, guided 
sustained, carried forward at every point. Hence 
the self that one "affirms" is the individuality 
through which the ever-present Father is fulfilling a 
purpose. One prays that that purpose, whatever 
it may be, shall be achieved. One is ready to do 
the work that is given, to meet the circumstances 
at hand, learn the lesson of the present conflict. 

2o6 Health and the Inner Life 

Hence no complaint is uttered. There is no sense 
of impatience, no desire to run away from the given 
situation. Instead, there is a sense of peace, of 
quiet restfulness, and thankfulness. One does not 
expect to solve the present problem by itself. One 
sees that it is inwrought with the whole of life, just 
as one's mere self is related to a larger whole. 
Therefore one seeks, above all, the truth of the 
general situation, and, in the light of this, the wis- 
dom which applies to the case in hand. 

If one could always attain this sense of peace and 
adjustment, if one could maintain it with calm per- 
sistence, no other method of self-help would be 
needed. This adjustment is the ideal, and it should 
ever be held before the mind. But as it is some- 
times less easy to mount the supernal heights than 
at others it is well to know of other methods, re- 
garded as introductory to this. It is an aid, for 
example, to dismiss all care, remove all nervous 
tension, and quietly settle down into the living 
present, with no effort to attain or to aspire. One 
therefore reminds oneself that one cannot achieve 
all ends at once, that to become rounded-out means 
to take up one tendency after another and lead it 
into line. One endeavours to come to judgment in 
the moment of life that just now is. One frankly 
acknowledges what has been accomplished, what 
remains to be done. One makes no claims, one 
makes no promises. The plain, unvarnished truth 
is what one wishes. 

Thus to enter restfuUy into the rich life of the 

Methods of Healing 207 

moment, and find one's centre, is to learn by con- 
trast that ordinarily there is astonishing waste of 
force. One becomes aware, for example, that there 
has often been ecstatic straining after ideals, a 
nervous outreaching towards the future in fear and 
anxiety. Or, there has, perhaps, been constant 
and foolish worriment over financial affairs, absurd 
fears concerning one's health, distrust in regard to 
family welfare, or the health of friends. Again, 
there has been a fluctuation of desires, the longing 
to be somewhere else, the wish that something stir- 
ring might happen. The constant mental unrest 
has been accompanied by a no less constant waste 
of nervous force. To become conscious of this state 
of affairs is to realise at last how slight is one's self- 
control, how little repose there is at the centre, how 
little enjoyment of life in the truer sense of the 
word. To find one's centre, and to remove the 
tension, is to begin at last to conserve mental power 
and physical force, and to prepare the way for more 
wisely organised activity. 

To experience the joy and beauty of this realisa- 
tion, put yourself entirely into the living present, 
trustfully, restfuUy, calmly. Regard yourself as an 
immortal soul, with all eternity before you. Time 
is just now of no consequence, or at best a mere 
matter of convenience. Space, too, has little pre- 
sent meaning for the soul. There is no place in the 
wide universe where there is more wisdom and 
power than here, in this wonderfully rich present. 
The God of wisdom is here. Here is centred all 

2o8 Health and the Inner Life 

life. Here dwells the Father, unlimited by space, 
unhampered by time. You are eternally related to 
the Father, You stand for some aspect of His 
wisdom and power which no one else can represent 
as well. Your entire experience is an awakening 
into recognition of this great life-purpose The con- 
ditions by which you are environed are the wisest 
for you. When you have entered into the meaning 
of the present round of experiences a new cycle will 
dawn. Peace, then ! be at home in the eternal do- 
main of the soul; trust and be receptive to the 
divine guidance. Do not coerce the soul, but grant 
it freedom to grow. Brush aside all doubts, fears, 
anxieties, and personal plans ; return to the spiritual 
spontaneities and follow the clue of the latest 
promptings. Let nature and the subconscious 
mind do their utmost, while you devote your 
actively conscious thought to the realisation of the 
divine presence, to ways and means of making that 
presence known among your fellow-men. 

Few methods are more effectual than this. Let 
the past be whatever it may have been. Let the 
outer universe be as real as it may. Let the future 
have in store what it may. Whatever the burden, 
however foolish you may have been, however far 
short of the ideal your conduct may fall — here you 
are, an individual soul. The whole of your experi- 
ence centres about this moment of philosophic con- 
templation. At the centre the soul sits and gazes, 
in all calmness at last, discovering that life is spirit- 
ual. When thus contemplative the soul is able to 

Methods of Healing 209 

trace to the fountain-head many a line of conduct, 
see from what alternatives the conduct originated, 
what might have resulted had the choice been dif- 
ferent. Farther back is seen the prevalent mental 
attitude whence the decisions sprang. Then the 
law becomes clear that if future conduct is to be 
wiser there must be more thoughtfulness, hence 
more repose, hence more self-control ; in short, that 
the soul's attitude must be changed. 

Thus, to trace conduct to its centre and discover 
the true resource is to see that out of a decisive 
dynamic attitude there spring multiform results not 
directly under the control of the will. Hence it 
is clear that the establishment of a new centre of 
equilibrium is the prime essential. Since the un- 
desirable present has sprung by degrees from an 
unfortunate attitude of long standing, the new future 
must be created, not by tearing down the present 
product, but by gradually centring the life around a 
wiser attitude, a nobler outlook. 

This shifting of attention is much the same in its 
effect as though one were to turn the body squarely 
around and walk in the opposite direction. The 
activity of will is slight which causes the change, 
but it carries the life of the organism with it. Or, 
it is like an absorbing story which holds the at- 
tention so that one forgets time, place, and all 
else. Meanwhile, the responsive powers of the 
inner life are doing their best. It is important to 
discover this, the actual order of events in the 

mental world; for as we have previously noted, a 

2IO Health and the Inner Life 

superficial psychology has sometimes put the stress 
elsewhere. To see that the attitude, the voli- 
tional activity, is fundamental is to put the thoughts 
that lead to and follow from it in their proper 

Another essential point for many people is the 
injunction to begin now, not to postpone the **day 
of salvation.** The restless, impulsive, emotionally 
tense individual often fails to respond to the usual 
afHrmations. The decisive moment arrives when 
such a person, no longer expecting other people to 
relieve him of his burdens, begins to conquer by 
cultivating the opposite extreme. Nothing is so 
effective as to stop amidst a nervous flow of elo- 
quence, a rushing tide of emotion, or whatever the 
intense activity may be, and, pausing for a mo- 
ment, regain equilibrium, start out afresh, con- 
sciously taking each step, carefully enunciating 
each word. It requires much persuasion to encour- 
age people of this type to be thus in earnest with 
themselves. But when at last they resolutely assume 
command they discover that great changes can be 
wrought in a short time. One man who thus took 
up the art of self-control so changed his nervous 
handwriting in a few days that his signature was not 
recognised at the bank. He next took up the 
problem of moderation in walking, and permitted 
every one to pass him on the street, whereas he had 
formerly rushed ahead at full speed. Others who 
have thus valiantly begun to practise what they had 
been preaching have found that remarkable headway 

Methods of Healing 2 1 1 

may be made in a few days in the encounter with 
habits of years' standing. 

Again, there are individuals who are much like a 
sensitive plant. It is of little avail for them to 
make the usual mind-cure affirmations and denials. 
It is not so much a question of thinking as of doing. 
Spiritual healers may be helpful to an extent, but 
it is largely a question of self-help. Hence there 
must be more acute self-knowledge, intimate ac- 
quaintance with the initiatory stages of various lines 
of action. Knowledge of the inceptive stages well 
in hand, the next step is to pause in the very act 
of "closing in" at the approach of a dominating 
person, to stop in the act of yielding overmuch, 
and be strong in the higher consciousness. It is as 
necessary for a person so constituted to regulate the 
pleasures as to overcome the pains of daily life, for 
their very acute delight readily develops into ecstasy 
and emotional excitement. From all such ecstasy 
and withdrawal into the subjective precincts there 
follows a painful nervous reaction of some sort. 
Hence there must be great moderation at the centre, 
quiet contemplation, and repose, where there was 
once nervous wear and tear. 

Such self-consciousness and analysis as this de- 
cisive change calls for would, of course, be most un- 
pleasant, if long continued. But for many people 
it is absolutely essential at the outset. The change 
is best brought about by making a separation in 
thought between the soul, the permanent ego, and 
its passing sensations, volitions, and thoughts- 

212 Health and the Inner Life 

Instead of throwing the whole life into the experi- 
ence at hand, instead of recounting a past bit of per- 
sonal history as if one were emotionally living it 
over again, there will be a centre of power which is 
like an objective, impersonal, serene observer, undis- 
turbed by the distant memory. Hence the past 
or the present will be regarded in a calm scientific 
light for the sake of discerning the laws implied, the 
lessons to be learned. 

It is important for every one to be able thus to 
discriminate the soul — regarded as essentially ideal, 
aspiring to be perfect — from the conditions of its 
evolution. Then the past that one regrets, the 
memory that causes pain, the experience that causes 
shame, will be connected rather with the self which 
one used to be. For the very fact that regret and 
shame arise shows that the soul is already far more 
than once it was. Once there was only a dim con- 
sciousness of a better way, a well-nigh impotent 
awareness of an alternative. But now the weaker 
element has become the stronger ; the higher alter- 
natives have prevailed. 

It is an entirely new thought to some people to 
reflect that there is a part of the self that is never 
ill, never sins. Yet one must believe this if one 
holds that the soul is a son of God, reared in love, 
sharing the divine life, never separated from the 
Father's care. To accept such a belief is to con- 
clude that at heart the soul is pure, true, genuine, 
free, beautiful. That being so, one may very well 
give special thought to this conception of the soul. 

Methods of Healing 213 

One will then see that what appeared to be an 
enveloping fear was relatively superficial. One ap- 
parently gave way to doubt, but in deepest truth 
the soul remained at heart loyal, serene. The 
hours of pain that swept over the inner life seemed 
to carry everything before them, but, far within, the 
soul was at peace, inspired now and then by en- 
ticing glimpses through the mist of doubt. Hence 
one must judge, not by the experience, but by the 
inmost attitude. One must put together these pro- 
founder hints concerning the soul's real belief and 
take the erect, strong attitude which they suggest. 
After a time this ideal consciousness will be an ever- 
ready resource. At first, this consciousness will be 
largely passive. But in due course it can be made 
aggressive, until finally it will be an ever-present 

It is oftentimes helpful to isolate the disturbed 
portion of the body by assuming an attitude of 
quiet unconcern, and concentrating the conscious- 
ness elsewhere. Again, if the fear of some possible 
calamity enters the mind it is possible to turn so 
positively away from it that the fear immediately 
dies away for want of attention. One may, as it 
were, personify that portion of oneself which is in- 
clined to fear, as much as to say: "Anticipate and 
worry, borrow trouble, if you will; meanwhile I 
propose to enjoy myself." Again, if you are rest- 
less at night, say to yourself: "Toss about and 
think as long as you choose ; when you have finished 
I will go to sleep." Or, if your brain is over-active 

214 Health and the Inner Life 

in one direction when you wish to think about some- 
thing else, say: "Grind away, I am content to wait 
in serenity." Nine times out of ten the relief is 
immediate, for the brain does not care to think, the 
mind ceases to worry when the soul is thus agree- 
able, for the seat of power has been moved else- 
where. One may also overcome nervous intensity 
by this flank movement. Start a centre of calmness 
somewhere else, and say: ''Serene, I fold my hands 
and wait." 

An important point to remember in connection 
with the rapid physical changes sometimes experi- 
enced by sensitively organised people is the fact 
that the sensation is usually very much exaggerated. 
An interior state which seems decidedly threatening 
may be of very minor consequence. The more in- 
terior, the more is the painful sensation emphasised. 
Hence the mere sensation is not a safe guide. One 
must judge by the general condition of other parts 
of the organism, and seek the judgment of the in- 
tuitive healer who is able to explain the process that 
is going on. To discern the meaning of such a 
process is at once to be greatly relieved. It is 
false opinions, fears, and threatening emotions that 
play havoc with these passing and relatively insig- 
nificant inner states. Doubtless, many a person 
has been carried down to death by the whirlwind of 
excitement which sometimes springs out of these 
misinterpreted sensations. On the other hand, fear 
and pain, emotional excitement, and the rest, when 
understood, are seen to be nature's warnings which 

Methods of Healing 215 

calmness of insight will enable the mind to profit 

The extent to which it is profitable to concentrate 
the attention on different parts of the body, and 
picture the various functions in perfect working 
order, depends entirely upon circumstances. In 
thus journeying in thought through the body one 
should always begin by clinging fast to the ideal, 
by renewing the consciousness of spiritual power. 
One should be careful not to become involved in, 
not to work upon, the painful sensation. To be- 
come absorbed in sensation is simply to increase it. 
The desideratum is to transcend sensation and con- 
template the ideal. 

Again, the extent to which it is advisable to make 
affirmations that are not yet true will probably be 
determined by the individual. Some people have 
found it helpful to declare, for example, "I rule the 
body." Very many others are entirely unable to 
makesuch an assertion. For, obviously, the crucial 
question is. To what extent do I now rule the body? 
Wherein is my self-control weak? How far is it 
wise to tamper with the bodily functions? Clearly, 
one must carefully discriminate. This being so, it 
is a question of specific needs, not of mere gen- 
eralisations. Hence knowledge of actual facts is of 
much more value than abstract assertion. The facts 
well in hand, one may proceed with the given 
problems. It is doubtful, then, if much permanent 
good springs out of the mere ** claiming" of perfec- 
tion. Genuine understanding in regard to the truth 

2i6 Health and the Inner Life 

of one's life should precede the affirmation of specific 

Mental therapeutists who have devised detailed 
affirmations and realisations for specific diseases 
have usually proceeded on the assumptions, first, 
that there is an exact correspondence between men- 
tal causes and physical diseases; and, second, that 
similar cases can be treated alike. The theory of 
exact correspondences seems plausible. But, as 
matter of fact, the temperamental conditions are of 
much more consequence than the psycho-physical 
correspondences. Inasmuch as no two individuals 
are alike, no two can be mentally treated in precisely 
the same way. The intuition of the spiritual healer 
discovers surprising differences from time to time, 
even in the same individual. To follow a formal 
method of affirmation and denial would be, for the 
most part, to miss the mark. 

We have seen that the cardinal consideration is not 
affirmation but understanding. To affirm wisely, 
to employ intelligent ideal suggestions, one must 
first know the case in hand. A patient might, for 
example, be suffering from weakness of the heart. 
To proceed according to rule to treat the patient for 
vigorous action of the heart might be to proceed in 
an entirely wrong way ; for if the condition sprang 
from a delicate little nervous tension, in a finely 
organised inner life, it might call for the most 
gentle, soothing treatment. But when such a ten- 
sion has been removed the treatment might well be 
of the more vigorous type. 

Methods of Healing 217 

Again, the treatment must needs be varied accord- 
ing to the stage that has been reached in the pro- 
cess of cure. Sometimes the history of the case is 
read backward, as it were, in successive treatments. 
First, the later and more superficial conditions are 
overcome, their causes explained, their lessons 
learned. Then step by step the work proceeds until 
childhood is reached, even prenatal conditions and 
events. The more acute the intuition of the healer 
the more is the treatment likely to vary, until finally 
the soul is declared "free." 

In the use of arguments, affirmations, and other 
verbal realisations, it is important to remember that 
the words are formal, secondary ; it is the spirit that 
gives life. The definite words enable the mind of 
the healer to take on a fixed direction. The direc- 
tion once attained, it is often better to let the intel- 
lectual activity cease, and quietly maintain the fixed 
attitude of mind. It is not always necessary to give 
specific attention to the problem in hand, if this 
attitude is particularly strong. Some of the most 
successful healing has been done by attaining and 
holding such an attitude, with little thought of the 
patient, so far as specific difficulties were concerned. 

Another reason for pointing out that there is a 
higher principle than affirmation is found in the 
tendency of the novice to "work" too hard, to ex- 
ert the will. To fall into this habit is to forget 
that the therapeutic work is not an affair of the 
human self alone, that the will is not a separate 
power to be exerted, but rather an activity that is 

2i8 Health and the Inner Life 

directed by a change of attention. To adopt an 
aspiring attitude, to direct the attention to the 
central source of life, is to realise that at best the 
personal self is merely an instrument. In fact, one 
sometimes feels that whatever power is effective is 
"given" from above on the occasion of urgent need. 
In such cases the human part consists in keeping 
the consciousness directed aright. It is not for the 
healer to dictate what shall be done. 

The principle of "absent treatment" is the same 
as that of the silent treatment when the patient is 
present. Conscientious healers are not likely to 
give such treatment to persons whom they have not 
seen, although sometimes it is possible to establish 
communication by means of a letter. The treat- 
ment is, of course, given at an appointed hour, 
and it lasts the usual length of time, that is, about 
fifteen or twenty minutes. When a person has re- 
ceived present treatment from a healer, it is ordin- 
arily not difficult to establish communication at a 
distance. The healer recognises the patient by 
discovery of the mental atmosphere, already known 
through previous sittings when the patient was 
present. Oftentimes absent healing is very effec- 
tive, — occasionally more successful than present 

In all cases of acute suffering, whether the patient 
be absent or present, the first need is immediate 
relief from pain. Such relief is soonest brought by 
the aid of thoughts, realisations, and mental pic- 
tures which are suggestive of peace, together with 

Methods of Healing 219 

realisations that tend to allay fear, quiet the emo- 
tions, and remove the nervous tension. Here again, 
the realisation is instrumental rather than final ; the 
essential is the establishment of the calmest kind of 
attitude on the healer's part, together with such 
positive directing of the healing power as the case 
may demand. 

The chronic invalid is not, as a rule, treated for 
relief from pain, but for restoration to health, and 
such work is naturally systematic and educational, 
according to the method that is most likely to suc- 
ceed in the long run. To cure a "polite invalid," it 
is usually necessary to employ the most persuasive 
arguments in order to overcome habits of long 
standing. Sometimes it is a plain case of selfish- 
ness,* but not, therefore, a case where condemna- 
tion is in order, for the patient is not likely to 
understand the connection between daily habit and 
health. Again, the first point to be won may be to 
find some occupation for the patient who has too 
much time upon her hands. It is always a splendid 
sign of change for the better when the invalid, for- 
merly absorbed in her own sensations, begins to 
wonder how she can help other people to know- 
ledge of the truth which has set her free. 

It is seldom that a physician's diagnosis is of ser- 
vice, for in most cases the physicians have already 
done their best, and what is now needed is interior 
discernment of interior conditions. Nevertheless, 
there is no reason in these days, now that the silent 

' See The Divine Law of Cure^ p. 243. 

220 Health and the Inner Life 

and intuitive methods are well established, why 
physician and spiritual therapeutist should not, 
when necessary, work in entire harmony. Ordin- 
arily, the physician places stress on an entirely 
different set of conditions, hence it matters much 
what the type of disease is. To the spiritual thera- 
peutist it is not primarily important whether the 
disease be organic, nervous, "mental," or what not; 
the question is. Is the patient ready, pliable, willing 
to co-operate? It is no doubt easier to illustrate 
the methods of spiritual healing by reference to 
nervous troubles, but it by no means follows that 
such diseases are easiest to cure. The methods 
have been as successfully applied to organic as to 
nervous diseases. The therapeutic pioneers were 
themselves cured of serious organic diseases before 
their public work with the sick began. To them as 
to their followers a problem of health was a problem 
of a given individual. The given individual lived a 
certain mode of life. There had been past experi- 
ences leading up to the present illness. Hence it 
was necessary to make a special study of the given 
case. If both inner and outer conditions could be 
changed, the person could be cured. This often- 
times meant a radical departure from the accus- 
tomed modes of thought and life, possibly a change 
in the disposition. 

With all these possibilities of radical change in 
view, it is not strange that when the patient be- 
gins to understand the significance of the spiritual 
method he sees that it is much more comprehensive 

Methods of Healing 221 

in scope than the mere healing of disease would seem 
to imply. Frequently a patient desires the treat- 
ment to continue for the sake of "the spiritual 
benefit" that accrues. Thus the therapeutic inter- 
est gives place to the religious and the educational 
ideal. A time ensues when the patient clearly sees 
that self-help must complete what the healer's work 
has begun. Thus the therapeutic philosophy en- 
larges into a general theory of life. 

This leads us, finally, to the highest ideal of 
therapeutic practice, namely, the inspiring thought 
that the healing experience at its best is part of the 
great process of spiritual creation. It is well to 
emphasise this ideal, for in this chapter we have 
been dwelling for the most part on psychological 
and secondary considerations. It is time to return 
to the confession of Chapter VIII. that, after all, 
the healing process is a wonderful manifestation of 
power and life in which man is only a participant. 
To emphasise the human conditions, to dwell on 
affirmations, realisations, varying methods, and the 
like, is to forget that in the last analysis there is but 
one principle, and that is spiritual. From the most 
interior point of view, the patient, whoever he may 
be, whatever his problem, is a soul in process of 
advancement from a lower to a higher condition. 
The specific trouble is an external incident. The 
primary consideration is the degree of advancement 
into spiritual knowledge and power thus far attained. 

It is a cardinal point in the doctrine which we are 
setting forth that the soul ''attracts" conditions — 

222 Health and the Inner Life 

mental, social, and physical — corresponding to the 
stage of development in the inner sense of the 
word. This has sometimes been supposed to mean 
"the thoughts which man is holding." But in the 
preceding chapters we have been discovering some- 
thing deeper than this, namely, that man presents 
a certain front towards the world, maintains a 
certain attitude. The thoughts he ** holds" spring 
from and are characterised by this "prevailing love," 
as Swedenborg calls it. To reform the thoughts it 
is necessary to "restore the soul." Thus the true 
therapeutist is the soul^s physician. To aid the 
soul to come to judgment, see precisely what stage 
has been reached, is to play a far greater part than 
merely to aid the ordinary processes of natural heal- 
ing. At best, the healer is merely an elder brother. 
He can neither make the change in attitude for the 
patient nor compel the change to come. He can 
offer alternatives and then let the soul choose. Nor 
can he regulate the comings and goings of the 
Spirit. The Spirit still "bloweth where it listeth." 
Among a given number of silent sittings by the 
patient there will be one or more which will stand 
out above the rest. On those rare occasions a con- 
sciousness will be present which will lead the healer 
to insist, "Not unto us, not unto us." For he will 
recognise that all his therapeutic devices are mean 
accessories when compared with this, the real pre- 
sence, the creative life of the Spirit. To try to 
control that Spirit would be like assuming to regu- 
late the universe. For the moment the veils of 

Methods of Healing 223 

mystery have largely been drawn aside and the 
adoring observer is permitted to see in very truth 
that "the Father worketh hitherto and I work." 
Fortunate are they who in some measure have had 
this glimpse into the real life of the soul. Fortu- 
nate, too, are they who take their clue from this 
central experience and endeavour to adjust their 
whole attitude in accordance with it. Healer and 
patient advance together when such moments of 
uplifting come. For the time they are filled with 
the divine influx. The sweet peace of the Spirit 
descends upon them. The tender love of the Father 
fills their hearts. A sense of newness thrills their 
being, and out of this immediate relationship with 
the primal Heart of life they go forth as if bom 



IT is plain that to take the theory of spiritual heal- 
ing seriously one must first apply it in actual 
practice, either with the sick or in self-help. It is 
not a doctrine to be theoretically accepted or re- 
jected. It contains tenets which can only be tested 
experimentally. The experiences of no two people 
are alike. Hence in the end each man develops his 
own methods and states the doctrine according to 
the considerations which his own work has empha- 
sised. Nevertheless, clearness of thinking is highly 
important. Method and conclusions will alike de- 
pend upon one's understanding of the elementary 
propositions. While, then, the two preceding chap- 
ters contain the teachings vitally most import- 
ant for those who are seeking health by the inner 
method, it is worth while to try to differentiate a 
little more sharply the specific type of therapeutic 
doctrine for which this volume pleads. 

I. Two main interests run through the teachings 
which we have considered in their historical develop- 
ment. The first is love of truth. There is earnest 
desire not only to know the truth in regard to the 
production and cure of disease, but to understand 


Summary and Definition 2^5 

man's entire condition in life, that he may be free. 
Hence great value is attached to facts, not the 
alleged facts of opinions and beliefs, not the super- 
ficial facts in regard to physical effects, but the pro- 
found facts of mental and spiritual causes. Great 
stress is, therefore, put upon mental atmospheres, 
subconscious reactions, and mental attitudes. It is 
claimed that when one penetrates behind all that is 
usually known as the disease, the entire situation 
is put in a different light. For one then discovers 
the decisive little reactions whose results so greatly 
influence the external life. To understand and to 
regulate these dynamic attitudes is, indeed, to make 
the explanation which is " the cure." 

The second leading interest is religious. The 
conclusion that, by taking thought for his health, 
man may also learn to draw upon higher resources, 
readily leads to the more important conclusion that 
every man is directly related to "the omnipresent 
Wisdom" in a very practical sense. Thus it was 
that the new theory of health became for Mr. 
Quimby and his followers a new religion, or at least 
a more practical religion, so that they no longer 
cared for the theology of the day. The connect- 
ing link between these two main interests was the 
inspiring belief in the higher nature of man, which 
served both as an instrument in conquering disease 
and as a means of entering into communion with 

This may seem to be a confusion of interests, and 
the reader may be inclined to object that the healing 


526 Health and the Inner Life 

of disease should be kept distinct from religion. 
In fact, interested students have sometimes asked if 
it be not possible to state the therapeutic doctrine 
without entangling it with religion. This might be 
done were it a question of merely mental healing ; 
for, as we have seen, there is a common basis in the 
phenomena of suggestion and the resident restora- 
tive power of nature on which all mental therapeutic 
systems may unite. But as matter of fact the actual 
practice of spiritual healing has from the first been 
inseparable from religion. If we are to understand 
either the earlier or the later forms of this thera- 
peutic doctrine we must constantly bear this fact in 

Fully one-half of Mr. Quimby's manuscripts 
abound in references to religious problems and to 
the Bible. The reason is not far to seek. Mr. 
Quimby found that the fears, emotions, and beliefs 
which were factors in producing the patient's dis- 
ease were intimately connected with religious creeds 
and experiences. He sometimes traced a nervous 
disorder to the emotional excitement attendant 
upon religious conversion. To explain the genesis 
of the disease also meant to explain the effect of re- 
ligious emotion upon health, and to indicate a wiser 
way of becoming religious. The close connection 
between health and religion in such cases led Mr. 
Quimby to investigate the subject more and more. 
The result was, for Mr. Quimby and for many of 
his patients, new light upon the cures wrought by 
Jesus, and hence new conclusions in regard to the 

Summary and Definition 227 

mission of Jesus, the nature of sin, and the sig- 
nificance of the atonement. 

Thus it became clear that the truth which shall 
'*set man free" must explain both disease and sin. 
It was no less plain that the method of cure must 
apply both to the problems of disease and to the 
problems of sin. In a word, to set man free is to 
bring him to consciousness of what he is as a son of 
God. Both sin and disease are ultimately due to 
ignorance. The true cure is wisdom. This wisdom 
relates not alone to man's fleshly life, but to the life 
within, to his spiritual existence. If man really 
learns to draw upon "the omnipresent Wisdom" he 
will be able to conquer himself in all respects. The 
same power that overcomes disease is applicable to 
the effects of sin. 

Thus the doctrine which began in a rather trivial 
assertion, namely, that "disease is an error, the only 
remedy for which is truth," gradually became a 
theory of the entire conduct of man and led to a 
practical religious life. Any one who is to-day 
mystified by the close relationship between the mind- 
cure theory and religion should turn back to the 
early history of the subject and try to enter imagin- 
atively into the lives of the mental-healing pioneers. 
By tracing the historical development of the doc- 
trine, they will also discover why some of the later 
mind-curers spend so much energy criticising "the 
old theology." 

One of the pioneers already referred to was told 
by Mr. Quimby that his Calvinism was killing him. 

228 Health and the Inner Life 

This meant, of course, that there was a close cotl" 
nection between the religious ardour and the nervous 
disease. It was natural that when the situation was 
once understood there was a violent reaction against 
Calvinism and with it everything that pertained to 
the organised religion of the time. Yet that same 
patient was of a deeply religious nature, and the 
religious need had to be met. It was no less natu- 
ral, then, that the inculcation and practice of Mr. 
Quimby's ideas should take the place, in calmer 
fashion, of the sometime Calvinistic enthusiasm. 

What, then, was inseparable for the pioneers we 
must not sunder, even for purposes of scientific in- 
quiry. The science is the religion. The power to 
heal disease, either in oneself or in another, is the 
ultimate practical test of **the truth" in question. 
Hence it is that one must "live the life'* to know 
the law. The science is not to be either proved or 
disproved by argument. The religion is not made 
genuine by the mere acceptance of the creed. Each 
man must test the faith to the full by carrying it 
into practice, not only for the sake of regaining or 
maintaining health, but in business and social life, 
in the service of humanity, and in the solitary strug- 
gles of the soul. 

However far the extreme and superficial devotees 
of the doctrine may have wandered from the more 
rational and profound teaching, however much one 
may differ from Mr. Quimby, this is the soundest 
and most enduring phase of the entire movement. 
There has been a persistent attempt to "live the 

Summary and Definition 229 

life," to make Christianity practical in minutest 
degree, to make it as practical in one's modest way 
as Jesus made it in his. If the result has been 
that people have lost interest in the churches and 
have turned to mind-cure books for spiritual satis- 
faction, there is but one course to pursue — ^to be 
as concretely practical as the mind-cure people; 
to do well what they have done so crudely. At 
any rate, when people work earnestly to spread 
knowledge of **the Christ within" it is not for us to 
condemn. That the healing experience has been 
the means of awakening genuine interest in religion 
is by no means to be denied. 

Hence the spiritual-healing movement at its best 
takes its place among the new evidences of our time 
in the empirical sources of religion. Every one is 
advised to enter the holy of holies for himself, put 
himself in direct relationship with the higher order 
of being. For it is, first of all, the immediate experi- 
ence that is real. In the ineffable moment of divine 
communion the soul knows reality by possessing it. 
There is no barrier between. Each soul must pos- 
sess the reality in order to test the genuineness of 
the faiths that are reared upon it. The thought, 
the interpretation, is secondary. The common 
basis of manifold interpretations is within the 
reach of all. 

2. In the light of the more valuable results of 
spiritual therapeutics, we may now venture to make 
a brief summary of the fundamental postulates of 
the general theory. 

230 Health and the Inner Life 

The fundamental consideration is the ever-present 
existence of God, the supreme Wisdom, of whose 
nature and whose purposes the entire universe is 
a manifestation. God is regarded in an intimate 
sense as the Father, who has provided for the needs 
of all His children. The Father is also regarded as 
the giver of all life, so that man is the recipient of 
life, in every sense dependent. But the dependence 
is essentially that of constant relationship such that 
wisdom and power are ever ready ; there is guidance 
for each moment, love for every need. In the ful- 
ness of His love God has given man opportunity to 
have experience. But He has been no less careful 
to provide for all the stages of man's long evolu- 
tion into conscious sonship. Hence the immanent 
Presence bears relation even to man's illnesses, — 
that Presence is an ever-ready resource in times of 
trouble. Hence the great need on man's part is 
recognition of the divine guidance and purpose, co- 
operation with the divine power. 

The second consideration is the essential character 
of man's life. Primarily, man. is a soul, a child of 
God, dwelling in the eternal world. His inmost life 
is continuous in that world, so that even death is 
an external incident. The real nature and intent of 
his life is spiritual. He possesses spiritual powers 
which function independently of matter, and enable 
him to transcend conditions of space and time. 
Hence, to know himself, man must adjust his 
thought to the proportions of the spiritual universe. 
He must cease to regard himself as a mere being of 

Summary and Definition 231 

flesh and blood, and consider what it means to be 
a denizen of a higher order of being. But he should 
also take into account the mental, social, and phys- 
ical conditions of life, and thus see the meaning of 
the various relationships which constitute his life 
at large. The central point of view should always 
be the spiritual — ^the standpoint of the inner or 
invisible world — but the spiritual ideal is to be 
understood in the universal sense. 

The next consideration of importance is the char- 
acter of our ordinary life. Consciousness is funda- 
mental. The natural world is made known to us 
through mental experience by means of sensation, 
activity, and thought. Of great consequence in our 
mental life are our interpretations of sensation, our 
opinions and beliefs, the subtle influences of social 
life, the subconscious after-effects of our habitual 
and decisive attitudes. For we react upon the world 
in accordance with our beliefs concerning it, our 
entire mental equipment. Hence the world is large 
or small to us according to the character of our 
mental life. This does not take from the reality of 
the natural world, with its systems, forces, qualities, 
and meanings. But what nature is for us depends 
upon the degree of intelligence we have attained. 
Having discovered the power of our beliefs we 
are, of course, at liberty to expand our thought to 
the proportions of modern science and idealistic 

Closely connected with these basic considerations 
is the fact that all life, whether natural, mental, or 

232 Health and the Inner Life 

spiritual, is an evolution. "Man is a progressive 
being.'* All life is purposive. The essential is 
consciousness of the progressive activity of life and 
our position in relation to it. Since life is ultimately 
spiritual, the real meaning of our long evolution is 
spiritual. Born in ignorance of what we are, and 
erroneously mistaking the body for the real man, 
we have been the victims of our own ignorance, the 
originators of our trouble. But there are compensa- 
tions in the woes thus caused. It is within our 
power not only to overcome the ills of the flesh and 
the mind, but to enter into conscious co-operation 
with the Power that moves through all evolution. 

It follows that life is, through and through, one. 
These are not two powers : the one good, the other 
evil, at war with each other. Disease is not an 
affliction sent upon mankind. Sin is not due to a 
* * fall, * ' or to the machinations of an evil spirit. The 
whole drama takes place within ourselves, so far as 
heaven and hell are concerned. Action and reac- 
tion are equal. As we reap we sow. The strug- 
gle of life is due to our own ignorance, and to the 
misuse of powers inherently good. To be set free 
by spiritual truth is to see that life springs from a 
single Source, that it becomes one and harmonious 
for us when we enter into adjustment with the guid- 
ances of the omnipresent Wisdom. The clue to 
this adjustment is the Christ spirit, the ideal which 
the life of Jesus exemplified. Every one has the 
possibility of thus entering into oneness with God. 
Since all activity and all consciousness centre about 

Summary and Definition 233 

the souly all readjustment takes place within, all re- 
form begins at home. To win the truth that brings 
freedom is to be guided to adopt the right attitude 
towards the activities of daily life. Very much, 
therefore, depends upon the heart, the will, the at- 
titude. If we would conquer and uplift the flesh 
we must begin by learning how we have helped to 
make ourselves what we are. We must, first of all, 
enter into life in a hopeful spirit, expectant of the 
good, the sound, and the sane. 

Whatever reality our ills and woes may have in 
the physical portion of our life, those ills and woes 
are made known to us within. Much depends upon 
our first attitude of approach, our initial beliefs, 
emotions, and fears. It is within our power so to 
understand how we have created our ills as to be 
able to become entire masters where we were once 
slaves. To explain, to understand, is to that ex- 
tent to be free. It remains to put in practice what 
we have thus learned. 

To be deeply stirred by the experience of spiritual 
healing is to see that one has been put into a situa- 
tion that demands entire readjustment in thought 
and action. Now, it would be absurd to claim that 
the idealistic philosophy involved in such an experi- 
ence is new. Those who have been reared in a 
liberal religious faith, of course, have a less marked 
religious experience. The same old world is here ; 
one believes in the same religious objects ; one loves 
the same friends. But everything is put into a new 
light by the discovery that one can take all these 

234 Health and the Inner Life 

interests home in the inner life and gain possession 
of oneself in such a practical way that religion and 
philosophy are made concrete as never before. 

With the old habit of thought and life an entirely 
different set of expectations is associated. It has 
been supposed that one must pass through a round 
of children's diseases, maladies of earlier and later 
life, culminating in the loss of faculties and in death, 
with whatever terrors it may have in store. One 
must take one's disposition practically as it stands, 
with all its passions and its discords. One must 
make sure of salvation. When ill one must call a 
physician, and so on through a long round. Of 
course, the conditions of life have largely changed 
since Mr. Quimby's day, but for modem devotees 
of mental healing there is a no less striking reaction. 

The first tendency of mental-healing devotees is 
to react rather violently from everything that has 
previously held them in bondage. Usually they 
cannot find language strong enough to express their 
dislike of medical practice and the **old theology." 
But allowing for all their excesses — and given time, 
they begin to regain their equilibrium in acceptable 
fashion — there is profound meaning in their re- 
action. For when they become calm enough to 
look about they see that for them the world has 
changed. What before was a mere object of re- 
ligious belief now becomes a reality. Instead of 
yielding to fear and emotional excitement, when 
pain arises, they become calm and draw upon the 
resources of the spirit. They expect and look for 

Summary and Definition 235 

the good. They believe that health is natural. 
They hold that what is ordinarily called the "dis- 
position" is relatively objective, while the soul has 
powers over all the habits of life and can conquer 
the passions. A new set of expectations for their 
friends displaces the old fears and doubts. New 
possibilities of education are discovered, and greater 
powers of individual attainment. In a sense none 
of the "new" ideals is really new, but the one who 
holds them now knows how to begin to realise them. 
Thus "realisation" is the keynote. 

The novelty consists, then, in the possession of a 
concrete, practical method such that each man is 
put upon his own resources. Fundamental in all 
this is the optimistic conception of the soul, namely, 
that there is a part of us that is never ill, that never 
sins. If health is natural, in the ultimate sense, 
then goodness is too — so one argues. It is as 
morbid and absurd to dwell on the fact of sin in the 
world as to rehearse the symptoms of disease. As- 
sure a man that in his heart of hearts he is a child 
of God, and the soul within him becomes "erect." 
It is not condemnation, but help, that people need. 
They know enough about sin and suffering al- 
ready. What they are eager to know is, what to 
do in order to live a better and healthier life. This 
method applies as well to the sin-sick soul as to 
the bed-ridden invalid. Both the sinner and the 
invalid need help from others at the outset. But 
eventually they must be taught to be self-help- 
ful in the profoundest sense of the word. This 

236 Health and the Inner Life 

instruction the new therapeutists claim to be able 
to give. 

Of course, one must make allowances for many 
extravagances and crudities. Some of the ele- 
mentary statements are absurd and superficial. But, 
extravagant or not, these declarations of faith stand 
for an underlying interest of real worth. To one 
who has been in bonds it is a great thing to be free. 
To those who have been practically materialists, 
whatever their protestations, it is everything to dis- 
cover the Spirit. However superficial the initiatory 
belief in the power of mind, the essential is to be in 
possession of a live clue. Even the assertion that 
''disease is a belief " serves its purpose as a working 
hypothesis. If one will but investigate, it matters 
little where one begins. Mr. Quimby's beginning 
was crude, but his eager desire for truth led him to 
a point where such elementary pioneer work was no 
longer necessary. 

3. In order to put the teachings of Mr. Quimby 
and his followers into sharper relief we may now 
venture to make a few definitions and draw a num- 
ber of comparisons. In the first place, disease may 
be defined, from the mental point of view, as dis- 
turbed action. This definition involves no denial 
of the physiological conditions of disease. It by no 
means resolves disease into a mere ** error." The 
point is that, whatever the physical disability, the 
disease is mentally known as disturbed equilibrium. 
This mental disturbance is met by a certain atti- 
tude, according to the belief that is held concerning 

Summary and Definition 237 

it. If the belief merely stands for conventional 
fears and ignorance, the mind becomes its slave. 
If the direction of mind with which the threaten- 
ing state is met is calm, strong, and confident, the re- 
sult varies accordingly. Hence, while very much 
depends upon the thought or belief, it is not the 
thought that is of chief moment, but the mode of 
action which is attendant upon it. This is a crucial 
point that has been almost invariably overlooked by 
mind-cure devotees. 

Health, mentally defined, is harmonious adjust- 
ment of the inner life in its relation with the body. 
It is founded upon self-knowledge, self-control, 
moderation, poise, and equanimity. It is not estab- 
lished by affirmation, but through understanding. 
It is the natural state of man and may become the 
permanent possession of the wise. 

Restoration to health takes place by one principle 
only, and is dependent, so far as the inner life is 
concerned, upon the discovery of the hidden causes 
which mentally brought on the disease. To ex- 
plain the restoration one must be able not only to 
tell how mental influence played its part in the 
creation of disease, but make plain the relation- 
ships of the human mind, describe the superior 
faculties of the soul, and characterise the relation- 
ship of God and man. 

The human mind is a theatre of influences of 
the greatest complexity and variety, partly subcon- 
scious and organic, partly social and spiritual. It 
possesses certain habitual dispositions, or ''direc- 

238 Health and the Inner Life 

tions," which are accompanied by multiform hidden 
activities. To become aware of these psychical dis- 
positions is to be able to explain the power of fear, 
belief, haunting mental pictures, and the like, in the 
phenomena of disease. 

4. Relation to Psychology. — Obviously, this theory 
of mental life is in sharp contrast with present-day 
physiological psychology. The contention of con- 
temporary psychology — that there is a parallelism 
between mind and body — is not denied, but it is 
maintained that there is a superior activity which 
can bring about changes in the body, contrary to 
the expectations of all who judge merely by physical 
symptoms. This is a purely empirical belief, the 
result of actual practice with the sick ; whereas cur- 
rent psychology is simply one of the natural sciences, 
concerned with the facts and laws of mental life as 
found in close relation with the body. That is to 
say, psychology is now a descriptive science, with 
certain limited interests ; it is not a science of prac- 
tical values, worths, and ideals. Nevertheless, the 
time may come when the methods of experimental 
psychology will be successfully applied to mental 
healing phenomena. 

Relation to Hypnotism. — Hypnotism is the induc- 
ing of sleep for purposes of scientific experiment, 
medical practice, or suggestive therapeutics. The 
principle of hypnotic after-effects is suggestion. In 
this respect there is a slight connection with the 
phenomena, but not with the methods, of mental 
healing. Hypnotism may be practised for inferior 

Summary and Definition ^3^ 

reasons, or for the sake of controlling another's 
mind. Spiritual healing, on the other hand, like 
any deed of service or love, is inspired by deep de- 
sire to help a person in need. It is not dependent 
on, although it may use, suggestion. There is no 
hypnosis or sleep, no attempt to control another's 
mind, or to convey merely personal desires, wishes, 
or emotional states. Experience shows that the 
spiritual healer transcends the plane of merely per- 
sonal sentiments, and is prompted by a religious 
rather than by a scientific or merely therapeutic 

Relation to Faith Cure. — Cures by faith are usually 
wrought by naive religious belief, or through super- 
stitious credulity in a sacred relic or something of 
the sort. The healing power is invoked by those 
who still believe in mysterious providences, divine 
dispensations, and other miraculous events. If a 
cure results from such invocations the former suf- 
ferer is no wiser. Spiritual healing is educational, 
and is based on intimate acquaintance with higher 
laws. The relation of faith to this process is ex- 
plained by Dr. Evans, The Divine Law of Cure^ 
Part II., chapter vii. 

Relation to ^^ Christian Science.*' — The term 
"Christian Science" was used, in an entirely differ- 
ent connection, in a poem by Abram Cowles, pub- 
lished about 1840. Among the works of Rev. Wm. 
Adams, there is a work entitled Elements of Christ- 
ian Science, Philadelphia, 1850. A German scholar^ 
Dr. Deletsche, has also used the term. Mr. Quimby 

HO Health and the Inner Life 

used the term to signify the exact principles implied 
in the life and teachings of Jesus, and also exempli- 
fied in his own work among the sick. Mrs. Eddy 
may or may not have heard him use the term. But 
at any rate she acquired from him the general prin- 
ciples and practical methods which made her own 
writing and teaching possible. 

Aside from the points of divergence already indi- 
cated, the teaching known as "Christian Science" is 
based upon claims in regard to an alleged ** revela- 
tion," an authorised text-book, a recognised leader, 
and certain denials regarding the existence of the 
natural world. As opposed to the unethical state- 
ment, *' All is good ; there is no evil," Mr. Quimby's 
followers point out what they call '*the wisdom of 
the situation," and they account for the existence 
of evil by reference to the conditions of man's 
natural ignorance. ''Christian Science" urges peo- 
ple to "demonstrate over" and ignore, even when 
it is a question of life and death ; the doctrine we 
have been considering aids man to come to con- 
sciousness of the point he has actually attained in 
mental and spiritual evolution. 

Relation to ^'Mental Science.*' — This term was used, 
for a time after 1880, to designate all mind-cure 
doctrines other than "Christian Science." From 
Boston the term was carried to Hartford, Connecti- 
cut, where some, who later became healers in New 
York, were taught by a former pupil of Mrs. Eddy. 
The Mental Healing Monthly was established in 
Boston, and the Mental Science Magazine in Chi- 

Summary and Definition 241 

cago, to represent this teaching ; and a general con- 
vention was held in Boston. In those days the term 
was used even by followers of Quimby and Evans. 
Later, the term was revived by a different type of 
mind-cure people, hence it became identified with a 
radically individualistic, commercial doctrine, in the 
South and West, and is no longer applicable to the 
Quimby theory. 

Relation to '^Metaphysical Healing.*' — This term, 
which for a time took the place of "Mental Science," 
has usually been employed to designate any mind- 
cure theory founded on mental principles, and some- 
times with reference to belief in ** mental pictures" 
as the "causes" of disease. The term "metaphys- 
ics" is always used in a practical sense. The theory 
of "mental pictures" is a late development of a 
principle which Mr. Quimby very early recognised. 

With some teachers of mental healing the first 
procedure is to inquire into the patient's past life to 
learn what haunting "mental picture" is the cause. 
Here is an instance which seems to confirm this 
theory of disease : A mental therapeutist once re- 
ceived as a patient a young woman who had been an 
invalid for a number of years and who was suffering 
from nervous convulsions, during the more violent 
of which she became unconscious. One of the 
severer attacks came on during the first sitting with 
the healer. Inquiry brought out the fact that these 
attacks had been thus severe ever since the sufferer 
had been frightened by the sudden and threatening 

approach of a pair of runaway horses. Thereupon 

242 Health and the Inner Life 

the healer proceeded to "blot out" the mental pic- 
ture of these horses. But there seemed to be a 
deeper cause. This was found to be the unexpected 
discharge of a cannon which frightened the patient 
when a child. Once more the picture was blotted 
out, and ultimately the convulsions ceased. In 
such a case the process of therapeutic thought pur- 
sued is intended to establish the right retrospective 
relation to the accidents which occasioned the dis- 
ease. The regular physician would say that the 
physical shock was the cause. The mental picture 
would be regarded as inconsequential. If the men- 
tal therapeutist invariably cured by blotting out 
mental pictures, the evidence would be strongly in 
favour of this theory. But the results show that 
the theory is inadequate. On the whole, however, 
this theory is a valuable development of the general 

Relation to the '^New Thought'' — This is the latest 
of mind-cure terms and at present the most popu- 
lar. It came into vogue in 1895, and was used as 
the title of a little magazine published for a time in 
Melrose, Massachusetts. The term was apparently 
a convenient designation, inasmuch as for its de- 
votees it was literally a "new thought" about life. 
But critics soon assailed it on the ground that the 
doctrine was not new, and in England the term 
"Higher Thought" was substituted. Like "Mental 
Science," the term once had a nobler significance, 
but has often been identified with the most com- 
mercial, extravagant, and individualistic tendencies 

Summary and Definition 243 

in the mind-cure world. It now means any kind of 
mind-cure theory, from the most mystical panthe- 
ism to the sort of individualism that can not even 
be harmoniously organised for purposes of a general 

The "New Thought" at its best developed di- 
rectly out of the teachings we have been con- 
sidering, notably from the works of Dr. Evans, 
to whom Henry Wood and other recent writers 
have been greatly indebted. Of late there have 
been admixtures of "Christian Science** and other 
elements, differing more radically from the parent 
teaching in respects where that teaching had the 

For example, one is inclined to doubt whether, in 
the long run, it is so profitable to rear a structure 
of denials and abstract affirmations as to come to 
judgment according to the method on which Mr. 
Quimby laid such stress. For, after a time, the 
mind comes to believe the "facts" it has created by 
suggestion, hence to lose touch with actual facts, if 
not with real truth. Facts should never frighten 
us, and there are occasions when the facts of phys- 
ical existence are as instructive as the truths of men- 
tal influence. It implies no "compromise with 
materialism" to admit and to learn from the con- 
ditions of our natural life. God is the author of 
nature, and its laws were well established when man 
came on the scene. To all those who "build their 
own world from within" Mr. Quimby would have 
said : It is not your opinion about the world that is 

244 Health and the Inner Life 

of consequence, but the actual truth of your exists 
ence in the world which Wisdom has created. 

Again, great stress is often placed upon the power 
of individual man in such wise as to make man prac- 
tically equal with God, as if he were an independent 
source of life and power. Now, Mr. Quimby and 
his followers point out, agreeing with Swedenborg,* 
that man has no life and power of his own, no good 
quality apart from God ; for God alone is the source 
of life. To take one's start from this doctrine of 
**the omnipresent Wisdom" is to develop in a dif- 
ferent direction from that taken by those who in- 
sist on the supremacy of individual thought. It 
implies a different attitude, it leads to a different 
approach to the healing experience, and involves a 
different manner of thinking about life. This spir- 
itual principle is embodied in the "New Thought," 
too, but owing to the fluctuations between indi- 
vidualism and socialism, theism and pantheism, the 
issues are often left entirely in doubt. The result 
IS, that each devotee sets up his own little cen- 
tre instead of acknowledging the divine principle. 
Hence it seems important to call attention to the 
radically different alternatives which cause the ** New 
Thought" to be divided against itself. 

Relation to Science. — We have seen that Mr. 
Quimby was interested in the development of 
"a science of health and happiness." Upon this 

* For an account of the Swedenborgian theory of spiritual healing, 
see Psychiasis : Healing through the Soul^ by Chas. H. Mann. 
Massachusetts New Church Union, Boston, igoo. 

Summary and Definition 245 

** science" an art of right living was to be founded. 
It is clear that such a science must be based, first, 
upon facts, then the orderly exposition of facts in 
terms of laws and values. Hence it would be a 
strict carrying out of Mr. Quimby's ideal to apply 
the painstaking methods of modern scientific inves- 
tigation. As yet scarcely anything has been accom- 
plished in this direction. The term "science" has 
been used freely enough by mental therapeutists, 
but either with reference to so-called ** Christian 
Science" or its speculative substitute, namely, "the 
Science of Being," by which is meant an entirely 
abstract doctrine, built upon artificial premises, 
e. g.y "God is impersonal principle," "God has no 
power of choice." 

Hudson's Law of Psychic Phenomena came nearer 
the scientific ideal, but was equally disappointing 
in the end. The author had not been a mental 
therapeutist, and his hypothesis of the subjective 
and objective minds was decidedly artificial. The 
first therapeutist to work away from the one-sided 
position of the typical mental healer, and bring 
to bear the resources of modern psychology, was 
Charles M. Barrows, whose Suggestion Instead of 
Medicine ^ contains much sound thinking and is still 
one of the best books on a specific phase of the sub- 
ject. Mr. Barrows points out, for example, that 

" A psychical cure is not a simple but a complex event. 
The elemental facts are of two kinds, and fall under two 

• > Boston, igoa 

246 Health and the Inner Life 

quite disparate categories. Sickness is a physical experi- 
ence, and recovery a bodily change. Such treatment, 
on the contrary, belongs definitively not to the world of 
matter but to the world of mind." *Tain has a phy- 
sical cause, and cannot be permanently banished until 
that cause is removed." ' 

The most thorough investigation that has been 
made by a scientific scholar was conducted, under 
the auspices of Clark University, by H. H. God- 
dard," who gathered many interesting reports from 
the entire field with the impartiality of one who 
had nothing to gain or to lose, whatever his con- 
clusions regarding the value of mental healing, faith 
cure, "Christian Science," and the rest. Dr. D. 
Hack Tuke's work. The Influence of the Mind on the 
Body J is still a source of information for those who 
look outside of the mental-healing world for evidence. 

Scarcely a writer has even suggested that mental- 
healing phenomena should be studied with the same 
thoroughness that is accorded to physical disease. 
Most of the mental healers have taken up the prac- 
tice with merely such preparation as a course of 
treatment afforded, coupled with the teachings of 
a brief course of lectures and the study of a few 
books. Strictly speaking, the person who is to 
practise mental healing should be well educated, 
thoroughly acquainted with modem psychology and 
the other special sciences that are likely to be of 

' Pp. 7. 73. 

•See the American Journal of Psychology^ vol. x., 1899. 

Summary and Definition 247 

service. Some would add that there should be 
knowledge of anatomy and physiology. If one is 
to be not merely a mental but a spiritual therapeut- 
ist there should be additional training, as well as 
careful study of the religious and philosophical 
questions that develop out of the healing experi- 
ence. A broad philosophical foundation well laid, 
it would be possible for the healer to enlarge the 
work far beyond present attainments. For as neither 
healers nor teachers have been adequately equipped 
for their task, their work has soon fallen within nar- 
row limits. Hence it is that in the mental-healing 
world there has been endless repetition of a few 

In order to enlarge the work and provide for con- 
stant growth, it is necessary, in the first place, to 
enlarge the therapeutic theory itself. This can best 
be accomplished by more thorough study of the 
facts of mental influences of all kinds, the power of 
mind over the body, the phenomena of subconscious 
after-effects and their physiological responses, to- 
gether with an impartial study of successful and 
unsuccessful therapeutic practice. The first result 
would be an enlarged theory of disease, its natural, 
mental, and spiritual cure ; and in the end more in- 
telligence in the mental treatment of disease. The 
next result would be a greatly enlarged psychology, 
for, as we have seen, emphasis has been placed upon 
the power of thought without due recognition of its 
relationship to activity and the will. 

This psychological reconstruction can best be 

248 Health and the Inner Life 

accomplished by reference to the psychology of Pro- 
fessor James, culminating in his Varieties of Religious 
Experience. The advantages in favour of the psy- 
chology of Professor James are briefly these : (i) an 
adequate basis is provided for the interaction and 
parallel evolution of mind and body; (2) the in- 
stincts, promptings, and volitions of our every-day 
consciousness are shown to be prior, original, fun- 
damental, while our thoughts, theories, and inter- 
pretations are later, secondary; (3) hence man is, 
psychologically speaking, a reactive being, and is to 
be judged by his practical attitudes and reactions ; 
(4) the psychological basis of mystical and other 
religious experience which this analysis provides is 
one on which all theorists can unite, attaching their 
own theoretical interpretations; (5) the psychologi- 
cal theory thus leads gradually to a basis of religious 
belief in the existence of a higher order of being 
with which the soul may enter into direct relation. 
The sense of need, of which Professor James speaks, 
coupled with the consciousness of its fulfilment, 
the realisation that actual **work" has been accom- 
plished, is the connecting link between general re- 
ligious experience and the specific application to 
health for which Quimby, Evans, and their followers 
have stood. Thus the spiritual-healing people take 
their place in an intelligible psychological and re- 
ligious system. With religious devotees of all ages 
they share the belief that experience stands first 
in order of reality, while creeds and theories are 
secondary. With those devotees they say. Enter 

Summary and Definition 249 

the holy of holies if you would know the realities of 
communion with the divine. But, passing beyond 
the mere cultivation of "healthy-mindedness/* 
they maintain that one may consciously put oneself 
into relationship with the higher order of being, 
and not only experience an upliftment of soul, but 
actually use and direct the higher power thus found 
for the immediate relief of human suffering and the 
conscious building up of a stronger, saner inner life. 
To approach the spiritual-healing ideal by this road 
is to seize upon it with new force and inspiration.^ 

While it is the psychology of Professor James 
that enables one to correct the one-sided mental 
theory which has grown out of mind-cure beliefs 
concerning disease, it is philosophical idealism that 
leads the way to the larger rational reconstruction. 
For the most part, mental-healing writers, teachers, 
healers, and devotees are reactionists, specialists, 
who seldom see around their subject. But the phi- 
losophical implications of their saner beliefs are 
deeply suggestive, and lead directly to new, empiri- 
cal confirmations of the idealistic conclusions of the 
great thinkers of the past. Dr. Evans was the first 
to see this, and his writings still constitute a direct 
point of transition to technical thought. To be 
sure, one cannot always agree with Dr. Evans's in- 
terpretation of Berkeley and Hegel ; the former did 

' Professor James's psychology is stated in its simplest form in his 
Talks to Teachers, The other points of consequence for our present 
purposes may be found in his larger Psychology ^ vol. i., and in The 
Varieties of Religious Experience, 

250 Health and the Inner Life 

not reduce all reality to that which is "in" the mind, 
and it would be incorrect to attribute to Hegel the 
mere thought theory/ But the idealism of Dr. 
Evans does not stand or fall with his interpretations 
of the philosophers. These interpretations serve 
rather to exemplify an empirical idealism which rests 
on the therapeutic experience and on Christian 
teaching. Dr. Evans skilfully avoids pantheism, 
while at the same time giving full place to the ex- 
perience of communion with the divine. Hence his 
idealism is essentially theistic, very closely resem- 
bling the idealism of Berkeley, who forms the best 
connecting link with the more elaborate and techni- 
cal idealism of later philosophers. 

But it would be possible to insist too much upon 
the needs of scientific investigation and philosophical 
reconstruction. The important consideration, after 
all, is the practical investigation which each man may 
undertake for himself, if he acquires the art of think- 
ing from the point of view of the inner life. The 
first essential is the particular point of view. This 
adopted, at least in tentative fashion, one is in a 
position to observe the phenomena of the inner life. 
To become at home within is in due course to raise 
the question. How much power have I ? Must I be 
a mere observer, or can I, by learning how my pre- 
sent life has come to be, intelligently participate in 
the production of my own future? Surely, no man 
will be contented to remain a mere observer. The 
degree of participation will be likely to depend upon 

* See The Divine Law of Cure^ p. 258. 

Summary and Definition 251 

the insistency of the problems to be solved. "They 
that are well need no physician." It is suffering 
that compels us to doubt even the most assured re- 
suits of conventional theories and methods. For 
those who are ready to investigate in new fields the 
way is, indeed, open. It remains for the individual 
to determine how much there is that is sound in the 
teachings and methods which we have passed in 


Absent treatment, i8i, 218 
Activity, 3, 93, 158, 169, 171, 

186, 190, 192, 210 
Adams, Rev. Wm., 239 
Adjustment, 206 
Affirmation, 15, 19, 94, 201, 

205, 210, 211, 215-217, 

221, 243 
Arena, the, 120 
Atharva-Veda, 19 
Attention, 73, 155-165, 192, 

209, 214, 215 
Attraction, 162, 165, 221 

Barrows, C. M., 245 
Belief, 17, 67, 81, 86, 94, 102, 
105, 128, 154, 176, 238, 291 
Berkeley, 119, 249 
Body, the, 1-4, 215, 232, 238 
Buddhism, ic) 
Burkmar. See Lucius 

Christ, 98, 103, 105, 144-151; 

Jesus and, 66, 95, 99, 104, 

120, 125, 229, 232 
Christian Science, 11-13, 53, 

64, 104, 114, 116, 180, 239, 

Concentration, 73, 184, 189, 

207, 213, 215 
Consciousness, i, 3, 71-74, 

91, 159, 160, 231 
Cowles, Abram, 239 

Death, 98, 125 
Deletsche, Dr., 239 
Dhammapada, 19 
Disease, 4,6,17,126, 147,168, 

175-177. 182, 202, 232; 
Quimby's theory of, 15, 28, 
32-39, 41-43. 58. 64-85, 
105, no, 128; error and, 
32» 39. 76, 128, 176, 227; 
Evans's theory of , 1 1 7 ; the- 
ories of, 176; definition of, 
177* 236; religion and, 226 

Divine Law of Cure, The, 96, 
118-120, 123, 219, 239, 250 

Divine Love and Wisdom, 119 

Dods, J. B., 22 

Dresser, A. G., 40, 46-54, 59» 
62, 63, 121, 127 

Dresser, J. A., 30-33, 39-42. 
121, 129-151, 201 

Eddy, Mrs., 13, 23. 53, 91, 
112, 115, 120, 121, 240 

Epicureans, the, 21 

Eternity, 125, 207 

Evans, W. F., 13, 96, 114- 
121, 239, 241, 243, 249, 250 

Evil, 232, 240 

Evolution and its Relation to 
Religious Thought, 127 

Faith, 174, 178, 181 
Faith ctire, 117, 239, 246 
Fear, 5, 109, 125, 126, 144, 

156, 163, 178, 189, 207, 

233, 238 
Freedom, 144-15 1, 185, 187, 

208, 227, 232, 233 

God, 92, 96, 102, 132-151, 
108, 201-205, 232. See 
also Wisdom 

Goddard, H. H., 246 




Habit, 74, 156, 159, 169, 177, 

211, 232 
Healing. See Mental healing 
Health, 6, 7, 129, 182, 188, 

195, 202, 2J5; definition of, 

6, 237; ana religion, 226 
Hegel, 249 
HiUis, 174 
Hudson, 245 
Hypnotism, 158, 159, 180, 

193, 194, 238 

Idealism, 3, 153, 156, 249 

Ideas, 156-166 

Imagination, 28, 29, 68, 72, 
120, 176, 186 

Inner life, the, 2-6, 152, 160, 
175, 178, 209, 214, 230, 
237; definition of, 5 

Invalidism, 219 

James, Professor, 13, 248 
Kant, 21 

Law of Psychic Phenomena, 

The, 245 
Le Conte, Professor, 12, 127, 

Leonard, W. J., 1 14-120 
Lucius, 25-28, 38, 56, 99 

Man, I, 2, no, 153, 168, 230- 

232; Quimby's theory of, 

66, 76, 79, 89-108, no, 

See also Soul 
Materialism, i, 3, 4, 75 
Matter, i, 5, 90-92, loi 
Mental atmospheres, 87, 95, 

124, 150, 159, 164, 179, 

Mental cure, the, 1 29-131. 

See also Mind cure 
Mental healing, 27, 54, 58, 71, 

109, III, 169, 177, 193; 

and spiritual healing, 194- 

197, 226 

Mental healing movement, 

the, 8-15, 22; history of, 

IT et seq. See also Mind 

Mental hygiene, 21 
Mental picttires, 55, 92, 178, 

215, 218, 238, 241 
Mental Science, 30, 33, 114, 

Mesmerism, 24-31, 35, 56, 99 
Metaphysical healine, 241 
Methods and Problems of 

Spiritttal Healing, 173 
Mind, 1-7, 153 et seq.; and 

disease; 64-85; Quimby's 

theory of, 75 
Mind cure, 7, 10, 1 7-1 12, 144, 

227, 229. See also Mental 

Mulford, 168 

New England Magazine, 24, 

New Thought, the, 19, 20, 94, 
114, 167, 242-244 

Opinions, 34, 56, 65, 67, 79, 
92, 93* 96, 100, 120-131, 

Pantheism, 172, 203, 250 
Parkyn, Dr. H. A., 180 
Patterson, Mrs., 53, 120, 121 
Philosophy of Electrical Psy^ 

chology, The, 22 
Philosophy of P. P. Quimby^ 

The, 47, 65, 114 
Plato, 20 

Portland Advertiser,^s 
Power of Silence, Tne, 128, 

Poyan, 24 

Primitive Culture, 17 
Psychiasis. 244 
Psychology, 238, 247 

Quimby, Geo. A., 24, 25, 44 



Quimby, P. P., as discoverer, 
13, 32-42, 87. io9» 117. 
122, i226; Evans and, 13, 
115-120, 241, 243, 248; 
Eddy and, 13, 23. 53, 112, 
120, 240; as teacher, 14, 52, 
112; experience of, 15, 34; 
ptirpose of, 15, 63, 80; 
theories of, 15, 33, 47, 64- 
108, 120, 170, 204, 228; 
life of, 23-46; character of, 
24-27. 32, 39-41, 47-54, 
59, 62, 1 08; as mesmerist, 
24-31, 56, 57; method of, 
29, 31, 41, 44, 40-62, 68, 
70, 80, 86; Christian Sci- 
ence and, 53, 64, 104, 114, 
240, 243; science and, 64, 
244; merits of, 109-114, 

177, 228; New Thought 
and, 243 

Receptivity, 161, 178-183, 

187, 191, 198, 208 
Religion and mind cure, 9, 

II, 13; and health, 225. 

See also Spiritual healing 

Sceptics, the, 21 

Science and Health, 13, 53, 

Self-control, 4, 5, 165, 171, 

178, 209, 210, 215 
Self-help, 206-224 
Sensation, 4, 71, 82, 90, 99, 

160, 178, 214, 215, 231 

Silence, iii, 191, 197 

Soul, the, 1-4, 99, no, 166, 
169, 175, 184, 208, 211, 
223, 230, 235 

Spencer, 132 

Spinoza, 21 

Spiritual healing, in, 112, 
145, 172-224; and hypno- 
tism, 194-196, 226, 239; 

and mental healing, 194- 
197, 226; methods of, 260- 
223; and faith cure, 239 
Spiritual matter, 30, 35, 75- 

c ?7.» 92 

Spinttial senses, 87-90, 95, 

Stoics, the, 21 
Subconsciousness, 71-78, 92, 

no, 160-163, 177, 188, 

192, 208, 23^ 
Subliminal region, the, 72 
Suffering, 128, 182, 190, 213, 

Suggestion, 19, 20, 161, 167, 

174, 180, 181, 188, 189, 

194, 195, 216, 226, 243 
Suggestion Instead of Medi- 

ctne, 245 
Swedenborg, 118, 222, 244 

Telepathy, 17, 159, 174, 189, 
191, 194-196, 202 

Thought, the power of, 94, 
152-171, 194, 202, 222 

True Htstory of Mental Sci- 
ence, The, 30-33, 39 

Truth, 32, 144-155. 227, 233 

Tuke, Dr., 246 

Tylor, 17 

Understanding, 15, 94, 216 
Upanishads, 19 

Varieties of Religious Experi- 
ence, The, 13, 248, 249 
Vedas, 19, 20 

Ware, the Misses, 44 

Will, 2, 6, 155, 168, 209, 217 

Wisdom, 42, 61, 66, 68, 7^, 
86, 90, 96, 102; the omni- 
present, 95, 125, 132-151, 
161, 184, 199, 201, 204, 
225, 227, 230, 232, 244 

Wood, Henry, 243 

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** The style is admirably clear and the treatment comorehensive and sug- 
gestive. Those who have read his previous works will see that he has a 
growing mastery of the subject to which he has given so much study."— 
Christian Inteuigencer, 

Health and the Inner Life 

An Analjrtical and Historical Stnd^ of Mental 
Healing TheorieSt with an Account of the Life 
and Teaching's of P. P. Quimby* l^^ Net $1.86 

Contents.— Introduction, Historical Sketch, Personal Testi- 
mony, Mind and Disease, Quimby's Theory of Man, The First 
Teachers, The Omnipresent Wisdom, The Power of Thought, 
Spiritual Healing, Methods of Healing, Summary and Definition. 

The aim of the author has been to put the inquirer in posses- 
sion of the necessary clues so that he can rightly estimate the 
various popular therapeutic doctrines of the day, and select the 
principles which withstand the test of time, reaion and experience. 

New York— Q. P. PUTNAM'S SONS— London 

The Philosophy of the Spirit 

A Stud^ of the Spiritual Nature of Man and the 
Presence of God. With a Supplementary Essay 
ontheLoi^cof Heg^eL 8vo. • • JTe^ $8.60 

Contents.— The Scope of the Inquiry; The Definition of the Spirit; 
The Starting-point; The Eternal Type of Life; The Natural and the Spirit- 
ual; The Channels of the Spirit; The Immediacy of the Spirit; The Value of 
Intuition; A Study of the Emotions; The Value of Feeling; The Import of 
Immediacy; An Estimate of Mysticism; Guidance; The Place of Faith; The 
Witness of the Spirit; The Element of Irrationality in the Hegelian 

*' . . . Mr. Dresser's book is a . . . strong and clear argument 
for the rightful place of- the supernatural, or rather for God as the natural in 
liic^—TAe Watchman, 

A Physician to the Soul 

Crown 8vo Jfet, $1.00 

Contents. — ^An Ideal Occupation; Mental Attitudes; Besetting Self- 
Consciousness; Persistent Fear; Spiritual Quickening; A Letter ^o a 
Sceptic; The Emmanuel Movement; The Power of the Spirit; The True 
Christian Science. 

*' The idealistic thought of the influence of the mind over the hody 
. . . is brought out in a clear and sane way by Dr. Dresser. A sound 
psychology, an intimate knowledge of philosophy and its history, and a 
practical appreciation of the average man or woman are present in the prin- 
ciples presented." — Boston Transcript, 

A Message to the Well 

And Other Essays and Letters on the Art of Health. 
ISmo Net, $1.86 

Contents.— A Message to the Well; A Message to the Sick; To a Su£Ferer 
from Nervous Fatigue; To an Imprisoned Soul; To a Theological Student; 
To a Clergyman; Notes on Mental Healing; Quimby's Point of View; The 
Law of Religious Healing; The Educational Art of Health; Spiritual Heal- 
ing Restated; The Victorious Attitude. 

New York— a. P. PUTNAM'S SONS— London 


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